Nine weeks since the AirAsia Renault UK Clio Cup was last in action, the 2012 season is set to resume next weekend, 11th/12th August, at Snetterton in Norfolk where championship rookie Rob Smith aims to build on the most consistently competitive showing of his rookie year last time out.
Driving for multiple title winning team Total Control Racing, the 20-year-old from Telford capped off the first half of his maiden campaign in the British Touring Car Championship-supporting Clio Cup with a pair of strong 11th place results.
Although not quite matching the season’s best top eight finish he achieved in a chaotic round two at Brands Hatch Indy Circuit, the Oulton Park weekend as a whole marked a significant step forward for the saloon car racing newcomer who is backed by Goodride Performance Tyres and Grouptyre.
For the Snetterton event just over a week from now, Rob will also receive sponsorship support from We Sell Tyres (Wholesale) Ltd who are located in Norwich and also operate warehouses in Nottingham and Corby.
“It’s been a massive break since Oulton but we’ve used the time-off from racing well, we’ve done a few test days and I’ve worked on my technique more and also my fitness”, said the Loughborough University Automotive Materials student, “The first half of the season didn’t go as well as I’d hoped but Oulton was definitely a step in the right direction so I’m looking forward to building on that.”
Two non-scores so far, at Brands Hatch and Thruxton, have impacted Rob’s championship position but ahead of rounds nine and 10 of the AirAsia Renault UK Clio Cup the former single-seater racer is still only 33 points shy of the coveted top 10 with eight races still remaining.
In the Rookie Cup classification, a championship within a championship for drivers under the age of 23, the TCR racer is seventh – just a single point outside the top six and little more than 30 points shy of the top three.
Rob added: “Going into Snetterton off the back of the Oulton results is good for the confidence but we really need to deliver a strong qualifying performance, that’s probably the most important part of the weekend for us.
“We need to start qualifying in and around the top 10 to make the job easier in the races, fighting through from the eighth or ninth row always means you’re likely to get caught-up in problems in such a close championship. Hopefully we’ll start the second half of the season as we mean to go on!”
Pre-event practice will take place at Snetterton’s 300 Circuit on Friday, 10th August, ahead of the qualifying session and first of the weekend’s races on Saturday, 11th August, at 11.00 and 16.00 respectively. On Sunday, 12th August, the second Clio Cup encounter will begin at 13.45 and will be screened live on ITV4, in High Definition on ITV4 HD and streamed online at www.itv.com/btcc