BTCC News: Smith flies to top 6 trio

BTCC LogoDublin, Ireland – Friday 3rd October 2014: Chrome Edition Restart Racing’s Árón Smith secured his best race weekend results of the season at Silverstone last weekend with a trio of top six placing’s that included second in the final race of the day.

Coming into the weekend, Smith was feeling confident behind the wheel of his MicksGarage.com supported Volkswagen Passat CC which immediately showed when proceedings kicked off on Saturday morning as the Irishman set the fourth fastest time in free practice one. A slight setup adjustment for free practice two yielded the same result but Smith felt his earlier setup was just that little bit easier on both car and driver.

Saturday afternoon’s qualifying got underway after a brief delay to facilitate an on track clear up from the previous support race. When Árón did manage to get himself some clear track, he posted what would eventually become the fifth fastest time of the session, placing him fifth on the grid for Sunday’s opening encounter, a season best qualifying position.

Choosing the Dunlop Sport Maxx soft tyre option for race one looked set to be a master stroke for Smith as he started from row three on the grid. Unfortunately however as the lights went out, Smith appeared to struggle off the line and was forced to tuck himself in behind teammate Alain Menu. Now locked in battle with the Swiss former Champion, Árón began to feel the advances of Mercedes driver Adam Morgan. Despite Morgan trying to muscle his way through on a number of occasions, Smith managed to retain his sixth place as Morgan began to fall away as a result of his advances. Now closing the gap back up to teammate Menu, it was too little too late to find a way past as the chequered flag fell.

Starting race two from sixth, Smith appeared to struggle once again off the line allowing Sam Tordoff to move ahead into sixth. However by the sixth lap Árón’s car appeared to come into itself and he moved past the MG Driver into sixth. Smith quickly followed the move up with a pass up the inside of Rob Collard at Becketts. Now on a charge in fifth, next on his shopping list was former teammate Mat Jackson. Looking for any way past the Ford Focus driver, it was clear that Jackson wasn’t going to make it easy with a number of very questionable defensive manoeuvres throughout the second half of the race. Smith’s progress was abruptly halted when the race was ended on lap 20 under red flags due to a comprehensive off for Rob Collard coming out of Copse.

With the top seven cars reversed for the final race of the weekend, Árón lined up in third place for what looked set to be a thrilling conclusion to the days action. As the warm up lap began, Sam Tordoff’s engine cried enough necessitating a delayed start to clear the pool of oil under his car. When racing did eventually get underway, Smith got a good start to maintain his third place starting position during the opening laps of the race. Quickly however the Safety Car had to be deployed to clear the stricken Audi of Robb Holland. When racing got back under way on lap six, Árón quickly lined up a move on Fabrizio Giovanardi coming into Copse to slot into second before setting about closing the extensive race lead held by Mat Jackson. With the pair now lapping at an equal pace, the gap remained the same right to the chequered flag where Árón crossed the line in second place, his third podium of the season for Team BMR.

Árón Smith – #40 Chrome Edition Restart Racing Volkswagen Passat CC:
“It was a really good weekend – I was aiming for three top sixes and we achieved that so I’m happy. The last race was great – we’d had the pace all weekend to be at the front so it was really a case of being consistent, getting the points and cracking on with it. It’s great to be up at the front because you don’t get involved in scraps and you can show your true pace. Mat got the jump on us at the restart but from then on we matched him the whole way. With Alain on the podium in race two and all four of our cars in the top ten in race three, I don’t think there’s much more we could ask for! I love Brands Hatch GP, it should suit the car and we should be quick.”

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