eBay Motors ready to resume battle
The eBay Motors team will aim to challenge for top honours next weekend (11/12 August) when the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship season resumes after the traditional summer break.
The BMW team heads into the second half of the 2012 season sitting pretty in second place in the HiQ Teams’ Championship behind the works Honda team and holds a slender advantage in the race for the Independent Teams’ Trophy.
Having switched to a turbo engine in its S2000-specification BMW 320sis this season, the eBay Motors team enjoyed a solid start to the season with six podium finishes through the opening five meetings of the year – including a win first time out for Rob Collard at Brands Hatch.
Rob heads to Snetterton as the best placed of the three eBay Motors drivers in fourth place in the championship standings, while he is also a close second in the Independents’ title race. As well as chasing a second victory of the year, Rob will also seek to extend his record of being the only driver on the grid to have scored points in every race so far this season.
“I’ve been training hard over the break and have been out cycling and running again as I’d had a bit of a break form it after competing in the London Marathon earlier in the year,” he said. “The team has also been working hard on the cars and there are some new parts we hope to run at Snetterton and see how we go.
“Snetterton is a circuit that has been good for us in the past, although we struggled last year against the turbo-powered cars and were left behind a bit. Now we have a turbo ourselves, we should be more competitive again. So far this season we’ve qualified inside the top six for every meeting so the aim will be to do that again, and if we could break into the first two rows it would be great. As long as we qualify well, we should be in the mix and we have to try and build on the improvements we made at Oulton Park and Croft before the break.”
Tom Onslow-Cole has also taken to the podium this season with third place finishes at both Brands Hatch and Croft prior to securing a second place in the final race before the summer break.
A winner at Snetterton in the past – indeed it was the scene of his maiden victory in the series – Tom will hope to join Rob in becoming a winner in the 2012 campaign as he attempts to improve on his seventh place in the standings.
“I’ve been busy with work over the summer break and have driven at both Goodwood and the Pageant of Power, while I’ve also been doing work in a simulator to keep my eye in for Snetterton,” he said. “The break has given me a chance to reflect on the season so far and an opportunity to take a step back and look at what we need to do to improve.
“The aim now is to have a good weekend at Snetterton to kick-start the second half of the season. Rob told me how difficult it was last year but we have a different package now and we need to see what we can do. It’s difficult to know if my first win of the season is possible as the NGTC cars will have had more development work over the summer, but hopefully we can challenge and be right up there fighting for at least the podium.”
Nick Foster in the third car sits just nine points away from a place in the top ten after a more challenging start to the season, which included a dramatic roll in the opening meeting at Brands Hatch. That incident saw the eBay Motors team forced to re-shell his car for round two at Donington Park and he went on to score in every other race through the first half of the year – with the exception of race one at Croft where he was caught up in someone else’s accident at the start.
Having led race three at Croft and with five top ten finishes in the past six races under his belt, Nick’s aim at Snetterton will be to break into the top ten in the overall standings and maintain the progress he made in the two meetings prior to the summer break.
“I’ve been swimming and also been out on my mountain bike to keep the fitness levels up over the break and now I can’t wait to get back behind the wheel,” he says. “Looking back at the season so far, I’m a bit disappointed with my championship position as we should have been higher up. Race one at Brands Hatch went well but then I had the accident, and Donington and Thruxton were then difficult for different reasons. At Oulton Park and Croft however I had a lot more confidence in the car. I felt more comfortable behind the wheel and the car itself was great.
“The failure to score twice at Brands Hatch and being taken out of race one at Croft didn’t help me in the points, as I’d hoped to be well inside the top ten overall, but hopefully I can start to put that right at Snetterton. We struggled for straight-line speed there last year, but with the turbo engine I think the car will be good. We might struggle a bit against the NGTC cars through the high-speed section at Coram as that will suit them but we will be definitely be a lot more competitive than we were last year. It’s a circuit I enjoy and I want to be battling inside the top ten.”