Redstone Racing’s Aron Smith showed well in the North East during rounds 13, 14 & 15 of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship at Croft Circuit, situated near Darlington, despite mechanical issue’s once again blighting the young Irishman’s progression in Britain’s premier saloon car championship.
After qualifying in an unexpected 13th position for round 13, Smith got away well off the line as the chaos unfolded behind with an incident involving Dave Newsham, Dan Welch and Nick Foster.
Motorsport Ireland’s Young Driver of the Year soon found himself at the heart of the drama, avoiding the Chicane as Frank Wrathall entered sideways for the first time of the 15 lap race.
The end of the first lap saw Smith cross the line in eighth position before the deployment of the safety car for a two lap period, left the ultra-competitive pack of racers with it all to do again at the restart.
2011’s AirAsia Renault Clio Cup Vice Champion got away well as the safety car retired to the pits before a slow puncture hampered Smith’s progression for the remainder of the race, allowing Tom Onslow-Cole and Will Bratt to take advantage of the situation, and leaving Smith to make do with tenth position at the chequered flag.
Round 14 saw Smith’s fortune change for the worst. After making a successful getaway off the line, Smith immediately propelled himself up to eighth position in the opening stages of the race until a bolt failure on the suspension, ended the Dubliner’s hopes of another consistent top ten finish on lap eight. Front left damper issues in round 15 would also see Smith exit the race on lap 12 of the final race of the weekend.
“I’m a little bit disappointed to be honest, because as always, I think that we had the pace to shine here at Croft this weekend,” said Smith.
“Qualifying didn’t go our way, then in race one I got a front right puncture which saw me drop back to tenth position at the Chequered flag which was a little frustrating.”
“Unfortunately mechanical issues hampered the final two races of the weekend, but as always I’m ready to bounce back confident that the ability and pace is there in the car.”
The Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship will now take a seven week break before embarking on Norfolk’s Snetterton 300 Circuit on 11/12 August, with Smith hoping to push to achieve his ambition of completing the championship inside the top ten in his maiden season.
(Image courtesy of Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship)