Rob Collard joins Jason Plato at Power Maxed Vauxhall BTCC team

British Touring Car Championship stalwart Rob Collard will switch to the Power Maxed Racing team this season to line up alongside Jason Plato in the squad's Vauxhall Astra machines

The 15-time race winner has inked a deal with the factory-backed outfit and is relishing the chance to get back into a front-wheel-drive tin-top for the first time since he raced a SEAT Leon at the end of 2007.

Collard said: "It is an exciting new challenge - I have been watching Power Maxed Performance's development over the last few years and they are a team on the move.

"It will also be interesting working with Jason Plato: we have been rubbing door mirrors for so long now but it will be a different story now we are in sister cars."

Collard had driven for the WSR BMW team for the last nine seasons in the BTCC. He was forced to sit out the latter part of 2018 after an accident at Snetterton aggravated a head injury which he initially sustained in a crash at Silverstone in '17.

He was replaced by his son Ricky for the final four meetings last term, but Rob is now keen to get back to the front of the grid.

"Power Maxed was in a position to win races last season and we obviously want to carry that form on," said the 2003 Independents Trophy winner. "I am fighting fit and raring to go.

"I am not someone who likes to make too many predictions about what is to come, but I would like to think I am competitive and I will be in the top six in the points going towards the end of the year. From there, anything can be possible."

Power Maxed Racing tied up a deal to run the factory-backed Vauxhall Astra in 2017 and it was a podium finisher in its maiden campaign before going on to take three wins in the '18 season.

It finished joint second in the BTCC teams contest and third in the manufacturers-constructors championship last year.

PMR team principal Adam Weaver added: "After our breakthrough year in 2018, we have been looking for a driver line-up that not only matches our ambitions, but that also has the speed and experience to help us realise those ambitions.

"I am delighted that Rob has decided to join PMR to complete what I believe to be an incredibly strong driver line up. It is quite surreal for me as the two drivers we have signed are ones that I group up watching and are a big part of the reason I fell so in love with BTCC in the first place."

2019 BTCC line-up so far

WSR BMW: Colin Turkington, Tom Oliphant, Andrew Jordan
Team Dynamics Honda: Matt Neal, Dan Cammish
Power Maxed Racing Vauxhall: Jason Plato, Rob Collard
Motorbase Perfromance Ford: Tom Chilton, Ollie Jackson, Nic Hamilton
Speedworks Motorsport Toyota: Tom Ingram
Ciceley Motorsport Mercedes: Adam Morgan, Daniel Rowbottom
BTC Racing Honda: Josh Cook, Chris Smiley
Team BMR Subaru: Ash Sutton, Senna Proctor
AmD Tuning Honda: Sam Tordoff, Rory Butcher
Laser Tools Racing Mercedes: Aiden Moffat
Simpson Racing Honda: Matt Simpson
Team Hard VW: Mike Bushell, Carl Boardley, Bobby Thompson, Michael Crees
Excelr8 Motorsport MG: Rob Smith
Trade Price Cars Audi: Jake Hill, Mark Blundell

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