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

 Cannabis grow seized by Telford police

Several cannabis plants were found in a home in Telford following a police..

 Ketley Brook island cordoned off amid Telford police investigation

An investigation has been launched after a man was found in a Telford road..

 Facelift on way as pub near Shifnal taken on by new owners

A Shropshire pub that has been closed for more than a month is set to reop..

 Telford's new mayor is elected

Telford & Wrekin Council has elected Councillor Stephen Reynolds as bo..

 EU elections - Telford and Wrekin results

The details of the European Union election results for Telford and Wrekin a..

 Tenants warned of renting scam

Telford & Wrekin Council has issued a warning to tenants who are looking fo..
View More

More UK News

Telford’s Got Talent returns for second year

Telford’s Got Talent is to return for a second year following last year’s event which marked Telford..

Free construction training set to deliver 400 opportunities

An innovative new construction training programme based in Telford is now looking for interested peo..

New 210 pupil primary school planned for Telford

A new 210 pupil primary school is set to be built in Telford adjacent to Junction 4 of the M54

Shropshire author shortlisted for Romantic Novel Awards

Novelist Emma Cooper, from Telford, has been shortlisted for The Goldsboro Books Contemporary Romant..

Superfast Telford broadband programme exceed national targets

At the end of the first phase Superfast Telford, the programme has delivered fibre broadband at 24 M..

Police appeal for witnesses as part of rape investigation in Telford

Police are appealing for witnesses after a woman in her 30s was raped in the Lightmoor area of Telfo..
View More

Telford Businesses

Calendar Countdown

Upcoming Events in Telford

26 May 2019

2- 9pm


Proms & Prosecco in the Park Tickets
Tier 1 - £21 or £20 for groups of 6+ until sold out
Tier 2 - £26 or £25 for groups of 6+ from end of Tier 1 sales until sold out
Tier 3 - £30 or £29 for groups of 6+ from end of Tier 2 sales until midnight 25 May
VIP - £35 includes VIP parking and posh loos
Children - £5 aged 10-18.
Under 10's go free!
On the gate - £38

Weekend Tickets
Includes entry to Proms & Prosecco in the Park on 26 May and Fireflies Festival on 27 May
Tier 1 - £28 until sold out
Tier 2 - £35 from end of Tier 1 sales until sold out
Tier 3 - £42 from end of Tier 2 sales until sold out
Children - £10 aged 10-18 / under 10’s go free!

Full details at www.fizzfestivals.com

View Details

26 May 2019

10am - 5pm


Free to watch

Team entry fees - TBC

View Details

27 May 2019

2 - 9pm


Fireflies Festival Tickets
Tier 1 - £12 or £11 for groups of 6+ until sold out
Tier 2 - £16 or £15 for groups of 6+ from end of Tier 1 sales until sold out
Tier 3 - £20 or £19 for groups of 6+ from end of Tier 2 sales until midnight 25 May
VIP - £28 includes VIP parking and posh loos!
Children - £6 aged 10-18 / Under 10's go free!
£25 on the gate
Gazebo hire - £70 for 3 x 3m gazebo

Weekend Tickets
Includes entry to Proms & Prosecco in the Park on 26 May and Fireflies Festival on 27 May
Tier 1 - £28 until sold out
Tier 2 - £35 from end of Tier 1 sales until sold out
Tier 3 - £42 from end of Tier 2 sales until sold out
Children - £10 aged 10-18 / under 10’s go free!
VIPs - £52 includes VIP parking and posh loos!
Gazebo hire - £120 for 3x3m gazebo

View Details

30 May 2019

Thursday 30 May

1.30pm & 4pm

Show running time (Approx): 55 Minutes, No interval

Suitable for children aged 3+


£14

View Details

01 Jun 2019

Saturday 1 June

7pm

Club Night. Strictly 18+


£12

View Details
View More