BTCC driver Rob Smith enjoyed another strong and consistent outing in the UK’s premier motor racing series at Donington Park, with a best-yet Independents Trophy finish of seventh place.
After an excellent BTCC debut at Brands Hatch three weeks ago, where Smith announced his arrival in the category in style with some terrific race drives, the Telford 26-year-old made more key steps forward with the Excelr8 Motorsport team this past weekend.
Not only did Smith wrap-up the second event of his maiden BTCC season as the highest placed rookie in the Independents standings, he is also equal fourth in the Jack Sears Trophy battle – the top three of which all gained BTCC experience in 2018.
“I’m really pleased to come away from Donington as the top rookie, particularly as we are ahead of much more experienced and better funded teams”, said an elated Smith, “Excelr8 have done an incredible job.”
Racing to 16th position overall in race one, seventh in the Independents, the MG6 driver was 18th in round five, 10th in class, and then concluded his weekend with 19th overall in race three and 11th position in the Independents.
Therefore chalking up a hat-trick of points finishes in the Independents Trophy battle, the Draper Tools, Lane Roofing, BMTR, Genco Logistics, CAM Systems, Evolution Fire and Security, Third Millennium, Rocket Graphics, Credo Asset Finance and Integro Insurance Brokers supported racer climbed to 12th in the class standings.
“On the whole I’m happy with how everything went at Donington, the team has done a cracking job again – you really would not think this was only our second weekend in the championship”, said a buoyant Smith, “Operationally things went very smoothly and we made a lot of progress with the set-up, and also from a driving perspective.
“We’ve got to the stage already, at only our second race meeting in the BTCC, where it’s only really our lack of experience which is preventing us from knocking on the door of the top 10. We’ve got another couple of steps to go, we need to find the next half a second, which we know we can do, and then we’ll be making those final tweaks – we’re not far away at all.”
He added: “I really did want some outright points, and we came pretty close, but I am happy with what we achieved this weekend – especially when you consider we’ve only had seven days in total in the car. One of the things I’m most encouraged by is the racing, there’s nothing I’ve seen out there from being around guys like [Jason] Plato and Matt Neal that concerns me. It’s all going well.”
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