–> Words & images By Chris Roberts/Widerviewphoto.com
After the mega interest shown at last weeks BTCC Media Day the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car championship (BTCC) got underway with testing and then qualifying on Saturday 30th March in freezing temperature and snow flurries.
|Collard & Foster|
|Foster in action|
The two EBay motors/WSR drivers – Rob Collard (Eversley) and Nick Foster (Odiham) were joined by Welch Motorsport’s Daniel Welch (Church Crookham) in a field of 27 cars with another 5 cars expected on the grid later in the season. Meaning that a capacity field of 32 drivers.
With the new BMW 125i M Sport car for Rob Collard only finished on the Thursday before race weekend the team was still chasing the perfect setup. Both Collard & Foster found they needed 6 laps to get the tyres up to temperature, in their rear wheel drive BMW’s
|Welch in action|
Daniel Welch was trying to sort out issues on the other S2000 Ford Focus on David Nye, and then suffered a broken driveshaft in Free practice 2.
The qualifying session started in bright sunshine, if still very cold, but the session was quickly red flagged as Collard & Foster’s team mate Colin Turkington spun and was collected by another car.
After the session started Collard had a strong first run and was in 2nd place in the timings, with his team mate Foster inside the top 10. Then Foster got a quick time in which was good enough for 9th place, but Collard missed the window and so qualified in 13th place.
Welch suffered further issues as the driveshaft had also damaged other parts of his Proton GEN-2 car, so he had to go back into the pits for repair. When he managed to get out after the tyre swop the snow was cing down heavily meaning he missed the opportunity for a top 10 place.
|Collard in action|
After qualifying Collard was frustrated commenting “My first run was good and I was in 2nd place, but I delayed the second run too late meaning that the track had got slower so I ended up with a 13th place finish. I could have easily been in the top 6”
His teammate Foster was more upbeat and was very happy commenting “I had set myself the target of a top 10 qualifying position which I achieved and am looking forward to tomorrows races and the chance to move up the grid”
Welch motorsport’s Daniel Welch was frustrated “I knew the car could go quicker, but after the broken driveshaft this put me on the back foot, so no opportunity for a high grid place”
The 3 races take place on Sunday 31stMarch at Kent’s Brands Hatch Indy circuit and all drivers will hope the snow stays away!