First Win Of MINI Challenge Season For Telford’s Smith At Silverstone GP

Rapid MINI Challenge racer Rob Smith took his long awaited first victory of the 2018 season at Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit on Sunday.

Rapid MINI Challenge racer Rob Smith took his long awaited first victory of the 2018 season at Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit on Sunday, 10th June, and the MINI UK VIP Customer Team driver is now hopeful the success will mark a true watershed moment for his championship bid.

Rapid MINI Challenge racer Rob Smith on the track at Silverstone. Photo: Mark Campbell/CarSceneUK
Rapid MINI Challenge racer Rob Smith on the track at Silverstone. Photo: Mark Campbell/CarSceneUK

After a season impacted by misfortune thus far, his best finish prior to Silverstone being fourth place, the 25-year-old Telford driver put together a fantastic opening to round eight to move into the lead midway around the first lap.

With the Safety Car required at the start of the second tour, and remaining on track for quite some time, the action only resumed with enough time for a late sprint to the flag where Smith made a faultless re-start and claimed the victory by half a second from Ant Whorton-Eales.

“This has been a long time coming!”, said an ecstatic Smith immediately after round eight, “We’ve always known the pace has been there from the start of the year, but we had damper problems at the first two events and then obviously some contact at Snetterton – it all hampered our progress.

“This weekend we’re back where we should be. If I’d strung it together in qualifying we would have been on the front row of the grid for race one and with the pace to fight for the win on Saturday as well. It’s a shame we didn’t have more laps in race two, but a win’s a win! It’s fantastic to be back on the top step of the podium, hopefully this can be the real start of our championship.”

Determined to mount a bid for his first podium finish of the season at Silverstone, Smith made a good start in trying to realise his aim by securing a second row start for the opening encounter of the weekend with the fourth fastest time in qualifying, just 0.2 seconds shy of the top two.

At the start of round seven on Saturday, the BMTR Tyre Specialists, CarTyreStore and Spark Motorsport Promotions supported racer was edged back to fifth by David Robinson before the Safety Car was deployed due to a couple of cars encountering dramas.

When the action resumed at the beginning of lap four, Smith made a good re-start and he was soon able to get ahead of Robinson to reclaim fourth. With absolutely nothing to split the podium contenders, just 0.3 seconds separating Smith from the actual race lead by the end of the fifth tour, the MINI UK VIP Customer Team driver couldn’t quite find the breakthrough he needed.

Producing a quickest lap time faster than those managed by Nathan Harrison and Whorton-Eales ahead, in third and second respectively, Smith pushed hard to the chequered flag on lap eight where he was a mere 0.3 seconds shy of his elusive first 2018 podium.

He was due to line-up fifth on the grid for round eight on Sunday morning but the start was delayed when Jac Maybin hit the rear of Ollie Pidgley’s car on the warm-up lap. When the action finally got underway, Smith started an elevated third with Maybin and Pidgley out of the equation but he was edged back to fourth into Copse – although he soon responded in style.

Holding fourth into the Maggots and Becketts curves, when a couple of rivals ahead got out of shape he threaded his way through into second place on the exit and after pressuring for the lead into Stowe he duly moved into first place on the run into the left-hander at Vale.

As a result of the opening lap chaos, the Safety Car was deployed in time for the start of lap two and the encounter got back underway with only enough time left on the clock for one racing lap. Making a good re-start, Smith headed former British Touring Car Championship racer Whorton-Eales by 0.5 seconds and went on to take his first win of the year by the same margin.

There is now a break of just over a month for the MINI Challenge competitors with rounds nine and 10 of the season taking place on Saturday, 21st July, at Oulton Park – the second visit of the year to Smith’s ‘home’ track in rural Cheshire for the annual North West ‘MINI Festival’.

Date: 12 June 2018 | Source: ShropshireLive

More Telford News

 MP's warning over Broseley's Broxit move

Broseley Town Council has been told it cannot choose to complete a "Broxit..

 Future Fit: A&E recommendation rubber stamped

Health officials have confirmed their choice of Royal Shrewsbury Hospital ..

 Row over key document in Shropshire's Future Fit discussions

A row has broken out over a key document in Shropshire's Future Fit discus..

 Four admit role in violent family fracas in Telford

The trial of seven men accused of leaving two people with serious injuries..

 There is no place for Future Fit says leader of Telford & Wrekin Council

The Leader of Telford & Wrekin Council is calling on health bosses to ..

 Former coronary care nurse takes top business role at UK medical supply firm

A former coronary care nurse has taken a top role with one of the UK’s lead..
View More

More UK News

Prince Philip unhurt after car crash - palace

The Duke of Edinburgh has been involved in car crash but was not injured, Buckingham Palace says

Snow and ice cause Scotland travel disruption

Several roads are closed in the north east after ice and snow cause problems for drivers

Solo 45: Rape accused grime rapper 'not a monster'

Grime musician Andy Anokye "reasonably believed" the women had consented, his trial heard

Owner gets stuck up tree trying to rescue own cat

Harry's owner Maria Parry realised the tree was "really high" after she climbed it to free him

Nursing mother smashes 268-mile Montane Spine Race record

Jasmin Paris expressed milk for her 14-month-old daughter during the gruelling Montane Spine Race
View More

Telford Businesses

Calendar Countdown

Upcoming Events in Telford

19 Jan 2019

Saturday 19 January 7.30pm

Tickets £25

View Details

25 Jan 2019

Friday 25 January 7.30pm


View Details

31 Jan 2019

Thursday 31 January 7.30pm

Tickets £23

Concession £21.50

View Details

09 Feb 2019

Saturday 9 February 7.30pm

Adult: £26.50

Concessions: £23.50

View Details
View More