Double podium for eBay Motors at Oulton Park
The eBay Motors team returned to the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship podium as the season resumed as Oulton Park, with a pair of top three finishes from the fourth meeting of the year in Cheshire.
Rob Collard and Tom Onslow-Cole took a podium finish apiece from the three races, while Nick Foster enjoyed a solid weekend in the sister car to score a hat-trick of top ten results; including his first top six finish of the campaign.
Rob had been the quickest of the trio in qualifying to put his turbo-powered BMW on the second row of the grid, although he was given a clear run to turn one when pole-sitter Jason Plato was pushed back into the pits with a technical issue. Blasting into the lead when the lights went out, Rob led through the early laps but was unable to keep the NGTC-spec Hondas of Matt Neal and Andrew Jordan at bay as he slipped back to third.
Tom had also made up places from sixth on the grid to run in fourth behind Rob but was unable to challenge his team-mate for the final podium place when he suffered a spin at Cascades and was forced into retirement. Nick meanwhile produced a battling performance from 13th on the grid to break into the top ten in ninth place.
Another strong start in race two saw Rob jump ahead of Neal and Jordan to lead into Old Hall for the first time and he remained out front until shortly before the half-way point when contact with Mat Jackson at the Island Hairpin left him with a puncture that required an unscheduled pit-stop and dropped him down to 14th.
For Tom, the race was all about making up places after his race one retirement, and a strong drive to ninth handed him pole for race three when the reverse grid draw was made. Nick meanwhile continued his forward progress to finish sixth, which put him on the second row of the grid for the final race.
Tom held the lead when the final race of the weekend kicked off but, having established a small lead as the field battled behind, his chances of victory were hit by the deployment of the Safety Car, which allowed the chasing pack to close up behind. After a second caution period in quick succession, Tom was unable to keep Matt Neal and Jason Plato at bay but he took the finish in third place for the team’s second podium of the day.
Behind him, Rob charged through the field to finish in sixth place while Nick followed him home in eighth to cap a solid weekend on track.
Rob now sits fourth in the overall championship, with Tom in seventh and Nick in twelfth, while in the Independents’ Trophy race, Rob is second – just six points off top spot. Tom lies in fourth, with Nick having moved into the top ten.
eBay Motors are now a comfortable second in the HiQ Teams’ Championship and are just four points off the lead of the Independents’ Team Trophy in a closely-fought battle between the top three.
Rob Collard: (3rd, 14th, 6th)
“It’s fantastic for the team to have two podium finishes although I think it’s a case of what might have been for me as the incident with Mat in race two really ruined my weekend and has hit my championship as we’ve made some good progress with the race one result. It’s a shame because the car was probably the best it was all weekend in that race but it was good to then come through to sixth in race three pick up more points.”
Tom Onslow-Cole: (Ret, 9th, 3rd)
“It’s not been a bad weekend although we can’t quite match the NGTC cars at the moment. We have the straight-line speed but they are better under braking so it isn’t easy to fight against them. In the first race, there wasn’t as much talent in my locker as I thought and I couldn’t catch the car when it got away from me, although I was a bit surprised when it went like it did. Race two was solid enough and in the final race, I think I could have won if it hadn’t been for the Safety Cars. That allowed the NGTC cars to get in a position where they could have a lunge but it’s still good to be on the podium.”
Nick Foster: (9th, 6th, 8th)
“I’m pretty happy with the weekend. I had a problem with the brakes in qualifying which cost me time and 13th was disappointing but race day went well and I’m happy to come away with three top ten finishes from it. I still think I’m driving within myself and there is more to come but the car felt great and the team has done a good job making improvements to improve the tyre wear. I’m looking forward to Croft.”