BTCC News: Challenging Croft for Smith and Team BMR

BTCC LogoDublin, Ireland – Wednesday 2nd July 2014: Coming off the back of an impressive lights to flag victory in race three at Oulton Park, confidence was at an all time high in Árón Smith’s side of the Team BMR garage coming to Croft. The Yorkshire venue had been the base for the majority of the team’s pre-season testing and as a result the aim was very much to return to the podium before the championship’s summer break.

After a solid morning Free Practice, Qualifying had been going to plan for Dublin based Driver Árón Smith. However as the session was drawing to a close, Smith had set the seventh best time which was then disallowed by the Stewards for breaching the controversial new for 2014 track limits rule. Smith set about improving on the time but cruelly the session was cut short with a red flag putting the supported driver in 11th for Sunday’s opening race.

Opting to save his Dunlop Soft Tyres for race three, Smith started race one like many others on the hard type option. A good start off the line put Smith into the mix at the first corner. However some customary pushing and bumping dropped him one place to 12th where he remained for the early part of the race. As he closed in on Dave Newsham for 11th, heavy contact from Fabrizio Giovanardi sent the Restart Energy driver wide and down the order to 15th. Clearly carrying damage from the impact, Smith limped his car around the track for the remainder of the race to try and save his weekend and secure a decent starting position for race two. At the flag, Árón was rewarded with 23rd for his efforts to get the car home.

Once again the Team BMR crew worked miracles on the car to repair what turned out to be quite a significant amount of damage from the contact with Giovanardi in race one. However a short turnaround window between races meant that only the most significant damage could be repaired in an effort to get the car out for race two. Hoping to reward their efforts, Smith did his best to carry his ailing Volkswagen Passat CC up the order from a starting position of 23rd. By the end of the race, Árón crossed the finish line in 15th place which would also become his starting position for the final race of the weekend.

With a fully fighting fit Volkswagen Passat CC for the final race of the day, Smith was focused on making his way quickly up the order. An opening lap clash at the head of the field brought out the Safety Car for the first three laps before racing got back underway on lap four. By now Árón had promoted his supported Passat up to tenth and was keen to continue up the order. Going onto the final lap of the race, now hot on the heels of Adam Morgan for sixth, Smith ran ever so slightly wide at the last chicane dropping him back to ninth position where he would remain to the flag. Proof that the Team BMR Volkswagen was capable of so much more was found in the fact that Árón set the outright fastest lap of the race during race three.

Árón Smith – #40 Chrome Edition Restart Racing Volkswagen Passat CC:
“Well I think it’s fair to say that race one really made it difficult for any podium return this weekend. Having to carry some of that damage into race two really hurt any potential to make our way back up the order. Race three was much more representative of our true pace setting the outright fastest lap, which is a real shame as the team did a fantastic job again this weekend and that pace should have had us back on the podium. But we’ve got the mid-season break now to reflect on the first half of our season and we’ll be back at Snetterton ready to return to the podium!”

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