Collard beats Smith and Plato to win BTCC opener

West Surrey Racing's Rob Collard took the first victory of the 2015 BTCC season at Brands Hatch after holding off Team BMR drivers Aron Smith and Jason Plato in a tight three-way battle.

Collard beats Smith and Plato to win BTCC opener
Podium: race winner Rob Collard, second place Aron Smith, third place Jason Plato
Andy Priaulx, Team IHG Rewards Club
Rob Collard, Team JCT600 BMW
Race 1 race winner Rob Collard
Jack Goff, Triple 8 MG
Rob Collard, Team JCT600 with GardX

Collard took the lead from his WSR team-mate Andy Priaulx at mid-distance, as the polesitter's soft compound tyres began to fade, having made a lightning getaway in his BMW 125i to vault from fifth on the grid to second on the opening lap.

The 46-year-old was then able to stave off the advances of the Team BMR duo Aron Smith and Jason Plato - who will start from pole for race two after securing the fastest lap of the race - for the remainder of the race to open his 2015 account in the best possible style.

"I could see Andy was pushing quite hard, but I knew from experience he would struggle [on softs]," said Collard. "I was catching him quickly at certain places, and when he made a slight mistake at Clearways I was able to get under him."

Behind, Jack Goff drove impeccably on his Triple Eight MG debut to keep the third BMR Volkswagen CC of reigning champion Colin Turkington and the leading factory Honda of Gordon Shedden at bay in an equally closely contested battle for fourth place.

The second works MG of Andrew Jordan finished seventh, ahead of Matt Neal's Honda Civic Type-R and Priaulx, who quickly dropped back through the pack as a result of his woes with the soft tyre.

Tom Ingram completed the top 10, the Speedworks Toyota driver forcing Adam Morgan's Mercedes A-Class on to the grass at Graham Hill at one point during their battle for position. Morgan recovered to finish 11th, ahead of Aiden Moffat (Laser Tools Mercedes) and top Jack Sears runner Josh Cook (Racing for Heroes Chevrolet).

The third West Surrey BMW of Sam Tordoff endured a difficult opening race on soft tyres, dropping from eighth on the grid to 15th early on, where the 25-year-old would ultimately finish.

Pos Driver Car Time/Gap
1 Rob Collard BMW 19m52.332
2 Aron Smith Volkswagen 0.411
3 Jason Plato Volkswagen 0.884
4 Jack Goff MG 5.464
5 Colin Turkington Volkswagen 5.726
6 Gordon Shedden Honda 5.819
7 Andrew Jordan MG 7.127
8 Matt Neal Honda 8.668
9 Andy Priaulx BMW 9.974
10 Tom Ingram Toyota 11.260
11 Adam Morgan Mercedes 12.763
12 Aiden Moffat Mercedes 21.151
13 Josh Cook Chevrolet 23.396
14 Rob Austin Audi 25.613
15 Sam Tordoff BMW 27.329
16 Martin Depper Honda 27.816
17 Dave Newsham Chevrolet 28.630
18 Hunter Abbott Audi 29.864
19 Jeff Smith Honda 30.229
20 Simon Belcher Toyota 35.200
21 Mike Bushell Ford 36.307
22 Warren Scott Volkswagen 44.622
23 Alex Martin Ford 44.804
24 Kieran Gallagher Toyota 45.991
25 Stewart Lines Toyota 47.425
Ret Derek Palmer Jr. Infiniti  
Ret Andy Wilmot Proton  



shares
comments
Neal "buoyant" despite subdued qualifying

Previous article

Neal "buoyant" despite subdued qualifying

Next article

Shedden pips Priaulx in Brands Hatch photo finish

Shedden pips Priaulx in Brands Hatch photo finish
Load comments
The making of the BTCC's newest superstar Prime

The making of the BTCC's newest superstar

Ash Sutton is on the verge of being crowned a three-time British Touring Car Champion; he seems to have it all. But life hasn't always been straightforward for this superstar of touring cars, as Marcus Simmons has been finding out

BTCC
Oct 21, 2021
Five key plotlines to follow in the 2021 BTCC Prime

Five key plotlines to follow in the 2021 BTCC

It’s been a busy silly season in the BTCC since the chequered flag fell to end the 2020 campaign last November. While last year’s top two have stayed put, there’s been a lot of fat to chew elsewhere, which should result in another fascinating year of tin-top action.

BTCC
May 7, 2021
Why a BTCC legend remains defiant at '97 not out' Prime

Why a BTCC legend remains defiant at '97 not out'

After a year of enforced absence from the British Touring Car Championship grid, Jason Plato is back and hungrier than ever. Despite stellar opposition and some familiar challenges, the two-time champion still has his eyes focused on the biggest prizes.

BTCC
May 5, 2021
The Top 10 BTCC drivers of 2020 Prime

The Top 10 BTCC drivers of 2020

The 2020 British Touring Car Championship will go down as a classic in which new winners graced the top step of the podium and an unloved chassis was resurrected into a champion. But who were the year's top performers?

BTCC
Dec 24, 2020
The Villeneuve-esque 'engineer's dream' who lit up BTCC 2020 Prime

The Villeneuve-esque 'engineer's dream' who lit up BTCC 2020

The Infiniti Q50 was completely redesigned, redeveloped and revamped by BMR and Laser Tools Racing for 2020. And the flamboyant brilliance of the driver behind the wheel was enough to snatch the title at the last gasp…

BTCC
Dec 11, 2020
Why the BTCC social media trolls have got it wrong Prime

Why the BTCC social media trolls have got it wrong

A number of drivers on this year's British Touring Car Championship grid have been called out on social media for taking other people's seats, whether they are older or drivers who are deemed to have less talent. Matt James busts the myth

BTCC
Mar 27, 2019
How the BTCC's class of 2018 ranked each other Prime

How the BTCC's class of 2018 ranked each other

The BTCC keeps getting more competitive - this season produced another new record number of winners. That made picking a final top 10 an unenviable task, so we enlisted the help of those who were in the heat of the action to decide the order.

BTCC
Nov 2, 2018
Can a champion be worthy if he only won one race? Prime

Can a champion be worthy if he only won one race?

Titles should be won by the driver who claims more victories than anyone else, so convention goes. Does the unpredictable nature of the British Touring Car Championship render that notion obsolete?

BTCC
Oct 10, 2018