More silverware for eBay Motors on tough weekend
The eBay Motors team secured its seventh podium finish of the year as the 2012 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship season resumed at Snetterton, although it was very much a weekend of mixed fortunes for the BMW squad.
Tom Onslow-Cole was able to match his best result of the year with a fine drive to second place in the final race of the weekend, but there was misfortune for team-mates Rob Collard and Nick Foster who both suffered their fair share of trouble on race day.
Qualifying had seen Tom leading the eBay Motors challenge with ninth on the grid, with Rob starting the opening race of the weekend from twelfth and Nick from 17th.
All three drivers made forward progress when the opening race took place with Tom moving up to eighth on the opening lap and Rob making his customary strong start to lie ninth. Running together on track, the pair briefly swapped position before Tom got back ahead; then moving up to seventh when he got ahead of Lea Wood’s Vauxhall.
Rob however would endure disappointment when an engine issue forced him to park his car on the final lap, ending his 100 per cent scoring record this year. Nick meanwhile made up four places on the opening lap alone and a strong drive in the midfield was rewarded with twelfth place at the finish.
Despite the best efforts of the eBay Motors mechanics to replace the engine in Rob’s car for race two, he was unable to take the start leaving Tom and Nick to fly the flag for the team. Tom battled hard in the top six throughout and looked set to better his race one result until contact on the final lap from one of his rivals caused damage that dropped him back to seventh at the finish.
Nick meanwhile ran inside the top ten early on but was shuffled back down the order to 13th at the finish – not helped by contact from the Vauxhall of Tony Gilham mid-race – while Rob was able to join in four laps down when his engine change was completed, but wasn’t classified as a finisher.
The reverse grid draw for race three put Tom on the second row of the grid and although he help his place on the opening lap, he was then demoted to fifth behind Mat Jackson and Gordon Shedden. Battling back past Shedden’s Honda on lap four, Tom then got ahead of Jackson on lap seven to move into a podium position and was able to inherit second when Wood retired with gearbox failure. Although he did his best to chase down leader Dave Newsham, Tom had to settle for second place; matching the result he secured in the final race at Croft prior to the summer break.
From the back of the field, Rob was on fine form and was up into the top ten within three laps. Contact with Frank Wrathall’s Toyota dropped him back down twelfth place but Rob fought his way through to finish the race in tenth spot, although he would then be promoted into ninth when Gordon Shedden was excluded post race.
Nick’s weekend would end in disappointing fashion with contact from Gilham saw him spin to the back of the field on the third lap. Recovering well, he was able to work his way back up to 14th place at the finish, which became 13th post-race following Shedden’s exclusion.
Heading to Knockhill in two weeks time, Rob sits fifth in the championship standings with Tom now in seventh and Nick in twelfth, while in the Independents’ title race, Rob remains second, with Tom fourth and Nick in eighth.
eBay Motors remain second in the HiQ Teams’ Championship and is a close second in the Independents’ Team Trophy.
ROB COLLARD (DNF, DNC, 9th):
“What a day! It’s been an incredibly frustratring start to the second half of the season for me. We showed strong pace in second practice but we had a problem in qualifying and then the engine problem in race one really put us on the bacl foot. Not starting race two was a massive blow but the team worked so hard to get the car fixed and get me out on track. In the final race, I honestly feel I could have been inside the top four or five without some contact with Wrathall as the car was absolutely mega.”
TOM ONSLOW-COLE (7th, 7th, 2nd):
“It’s been a tricky weekend in terms of results but the guys have done a great job and the car was fantastic. We still haven’t got the outright speed but the balance of the car was spot on. In the final race I felt that I might be able to get into the lead and then break away but that wasn’t how it panned out and I was worried about my changes when the NGTC cars came up behind. However I was able to manage the tyres and pull out a gap and bring the car home on the podium.”
NICK FOSTER (12th, 13th, 13th):
“It’s been a tough weekend for me. I really wanted to come away from Snetterton with three top ten finishes and unfortunately I didn’t manage to achieve it. I struggled a bit for pace and don’t know why, so I need to have a look at the data and find out why. I wasn’t helped by the fact I was hit by the same driver in race two and race three, and when he turned me round in the final race so I just had to climb back up as a far as I could. It’s the highs and lows of motorsport!”