Robb Holland was the victim of a massive crash due to the treacherous conditions at Donington Park this past weekend.
Robb ‘Hollywood’ Holland was lucky to escape injury after his Rotek Racing-run Oakley Motorsports Audi S3 saloon became involved in a scary 90mph multi-car shunt that halted the second of three Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) races held at a rainy Donington Park (20 April).
The crash, which ironically occurred at Donington Park’s Hollywood corner, was triggered when another Audi driven by Rob Austin spun on the wet track. As Austin rejoined, the cars behind were forced to take avoiding action with several, including the Rotek's Audi S3, arriving on the scene completely unsighted in heavy spray and unable to prevent contact with each other.
Holland made contact with James Cole’s Toyota Avensis and the two shot off the track at barely unabated speeds and almost head-on into an unprotected solid concrete retaining wall. Though the wall collapsed, it did at least take the cars' impact, leaving both in a very sorry state of repair.
Indeed, such was the state of Holland’s car, the Nurburgring and Silverstone-based team had no option but to withdraw it from the final race of the day.
Holland had fared a little better in the day’s opening race. From the starting grid, he raced his way past six cars before being pushed into a spin that relegated him to the tail of the 31-car field, before the race was even a lap old.
A determined fight-back that included another trip cross country after being pushed off a second time meant that the North American driver had to ultimately settle for an unrepresentative 28th place finish, albeit with the slight consolation of being the first Audi home.
The race is now on to rebuild the Audi S3 saloon in time for the next BTCC meeting at Hampshire’s Thruxton Circuit in two weeks' time. However, until the Rotek team properly assesses the damage back at base, it isn’t clear how long the work is likely to take. Though one thing is almost certain, a first real test for the car planned before the next meeting will now have to be shelved.
“It has been a disappointing day, but that’s how it works out sometimes," said Holland. "We’ll pick ourselves up, get the car rebuilt and be ready to fight another day. There was nothing I could have done to avoid the crash. Unknown to me just ahead, Rob Austin had spun his Audi. I was enjoying a fight for position with James Cole when we arrived at the corner just as Rob was rejoining the track on the racing line.
“Unfortunately, both James and I went off and hit the wall on the short stretch that isn’t protected by tyres and the impact was hard. I’m feeling a little sore and I’ll ache some in the morning but, fortunately, that’s the extent of it as far as I am concerned."
Holland continued: “Obviously the plan to test before the next meeting seems out of the question right now. We don’t know yet if it is going to take three days, five days or even the best part of two weeks to repair. The shell is okay and we think the engine is too but, until we strip the car down we won’t know for sure. I’m certain will be back out in time for Thruxton.”