West Surrey Racing made a winning start to their 2012 British Touring Car Championship campaign at the opening round at Brands Hatch.
Many had hinted in the off-season that WSR would be ones to watch in 2012 with their three turbocharged BMWs. Rob Collard proved them right, taking victory in the first race of the season. Collard got a good start in the race moving up from third to lead the field into the first corner on lap one. It was a position he later relinquished, slipping back as far as fourth as a battle for the lead unfolded in front of him. Collard was able to capitalise on this battle to retake the lead and hold it until the chequered flag. While he also led the field into the first corner in race two, it was a lead he couldn’t maintain with the added weight of the success ballast. Collard finished the race in sixth, a result he repeated in the third race.
Collard was pleased with his winning start to the season: “I didn’t think we could win first time out. I’m so pleased for the team but I really didn’t expect it. I’m delighted to be back with the eBay Motors team again this season and I’m happy to have started with a win. We’ve got a lot of data to look at to help us improve things further.”
Tom Onslow-Cole also made a strong opening race performance, crossing the line narrowly ahead of Jason Plato to take third and join Collard on the podium. Race two did not go as smoothly for Onslow-Cole as he was given a drive through penalty for a jump start. The WSR driver fought his way through the field to finish tenth. The third race ended early for him though when was involved in the incident which saw the race red flagged after several cars ended up in the gravel as a result of oil on track.
Onslow-Cole had nowhere to go: “There was oil right through the braking zone and there was nothing I could do. Unfortunately I hit the barrier and it ripped a wheel off so there was no chance to restart the race. We had good pace in the car but it’s just one of those things.”
Nick Foster had an even earlier end to his race weekend after his BMW rolled in the opening half of race two. While Foster was able to walk away from the accident which saw the car land upside down, it was the end of his race weekend.
Foster had the following to say on the incident: “I ran a little bit wide and the car snapped on me. There was no chance to catch it and I was just a passenger. I hoped I’d just spin and get going again but it was a big hit with the barrier and over she went. It was a shame as the car felt really good, but there are a lot of positives to take away from the weekend.”
Those positives included a ninth place finish in the first race, which meant all three of the WSR turbocharged BMWs finished in the top ten in race one.
In spite of the race two and three dramas for West Surrey Racing, they took a good points haul away from the weekend and currently sit second behind Eurotech Racing in the overall and independent team’s championships.