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Collard on the Mend After Snetterton Shunt

Airwaves BMW

August 3rd 2009

Airwaves BMW star Rob Collard is recuperating at home with his family after being released from hospital following his involvement in a high speed collision at Snetterton yesterday (Sunday).

The Hampshireman has been given a clean bill of health after undergoing a rigorous series of examinations at Norwich and Norfolk general district hospital, but is still extremely sore after suffering extensive internal bruising.

The experienced racer had been leading the third race of the HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship at Snetterton when his BMW 320si was tipped into a spin by the Chevrolet of James Nash as they diced at the head of the field.  After sliding onto the grass Collard's car came to rest back on the track in the path of the oncoming pack and he was struck heavily by the BMW of the unsighted Stephen Jelley.

While Collard was able to walk away from the car unaided he was immediately taken to the medical centre at Snetterton as a precaution, then transferred to Norwich and Norfolk general district hospital to undergo further checks to his health.  He was released from hospital around midnight and was driven to his home in Hampshire by Airwaves BMW team principal David Bartrum.

Collard will now enjoy a week long holiday with his family which had already been planned before the weekend's events.

In his absence the Airwaves BMW team will be working flat out to repair his badly damaged BMW 320si in time for the next round of the HiQ MSA Touring Car Championship at Knockhill on August 15/16.

Airwaves BMW Team driver Rob Collard said:
"I would sincerely like to thank the medical team at Snetterton who did a sterling job of looking after me following the incident and also the staff at Norwich and Norfolk hospital who were also first class.  When I got out of the car I was a bit sore but the adrenaline was getting me through.  It wasn't until I sat down in the medical centre that it really hit me and the pain was unbelievable.  Thankfully I was really well looked after by all the medics and I think they checked absolutely every inch of me to make sure there was no major damage.

"It was a disappointing way to end the day as the car was outstanding over the first five or six laps in race three and I was building up a comfortable lead.  Then I saw oil on the track, which I thankfully managed to avoid, and the safety car came out and let the rest of them catch up with me.  When the safety car went off I just tried to hold the lead and there was parts of the circuit where James Nash behind me was faster and others where I had the advantage, it was a bit of cat-and-mouse.  He actually hit me quite a few times as we went round and I was just defending the racing line when I got fired off.  I tried to save it, which I had done in a similar incident in race one, but I had too much momentum and I came back into the pack.  I saw Matt [Neal] just miss me but I didn't even see Stephen [Jelley] coming before he hit me.

If that hadn't happened I think I would've gone on to win the race, or at the very least take a podium place.  James Nash is a fast young guy but I think his inexperience showed and he should've waited for better opportunity to pass instead of trying to force it.  I don't think more experienced drivers like Colin Turkington or Fabrizio Giovanardi, who were directly behind him, would have tried a move like that.  In the end it's ruined his race and mine, and ended my championship hopes.

"Hopefully the team will be able to get my car back into shape in time for Knockhill and I will do everything I can to be fit for it."

Airwaves BMW Team Principal David Bartrum said:
"We are all just relieved Rob is ok as he took a really big hit.  He's bruised and battered but thankfully nothing more, and he's a tough guy so hopefully he'll be back on form quickly.  I have to say the hospital staff and the medical team at Snetterton were brilliant and took great care of Rob.  The whole Airwaves BMW team are really grateful for everything they did for him.  We also have to thank BMW for building a quality car that was solid enough to absorb an impact like that and allow Rob to walk away without serious injury.  We'll assess the damage to the car today and start working towards getting it straightened out for Knockhill.  Rob got a second place there last season so we want him back in the car and doing the same there again this year."