Snetterton, Norfolk, UK – Monday 10th August 2015: Árón Smith was in high spirits coming to Snetterton for the resumption of the 2015 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship following the annual summer break.
Coming off the back of a recent Dunlop tyre test at the 300 configuration circuit, the 2014 race three winner was making his intentions clear that a return to the podium would be the very least you could expect from him over the weekend.
Saturday’s free practice got proceedings off to a very positive start. With just hundredths of a second separating the trio of Team BMR Passat CC’s. Árón Smith finished both sessions fourth fastest and confident of finding that extra bit of magic needed in qualifying.
Qualifying has been quite a spectacle on many occasions so far this year, and Snetterton would be no different. Early in play it was Árón who commanded a healthy claim on the top spot before his best effort was just piped by Colin Turkington. As the session drew to a close, the top three positions on the grid for Sunday’s race one would be a Team BMR lockout as Jason Plato qualified third, writing another Team BMR titled chapter in the BTCC history books.
With glorious sunshine and soaring temperatures on Sunday morning, the scene was set for an action packed day ahead. Starting on the slippier side of the track, Árón Smith was keen to make a strong getaway to challenge teammate Turkington into the first corner. Indeed he did launch his newly livered machine well and for the opening sequence of corners, put the pole man under intense pressure. Crossing the line for the first time however, the smallest of margins was starting to emerge. From that point forward, Árón chased the reigning champion hard to close the gap, but the evenly matched Team BMR Passat’s remained in qualifying order to the flag, yet again adding another chapter to the history books as the first team to lock out the podium.
Starting race two from row four, this time Smith would be on the high-grip inside line. Árón made the most of this advantage, moving up to sixth by the end of the opening lap. However Smith’s race would come to an abrupt end when contact with Dave Newsham resulted in suspension damage forcing the Irishman to retire to the pits.
Starting race three from 23rd position, it was a case of damage limitation. Once again starting from the high-grip side of the grid, Smith began charge from the word go. A stellar performance throughout the race allowed him to carefully progress up the order during each lap. Cross the finishing line for the final time, Árón had climbed a superb 11 places during the race to finish 12th.
Árón Smith – #40 Team BMR Volkswagen Passat CC:
“Overall this weekend has been great for Team BMR. Making history in both qualifying and race one was something very special to be a part of. We were really quick here this weekend which is what we had hoped for, and it was nice to be back on the podium in race one. Race two wasn’t great, I think we could have finished in a great position for a big charge in race three, but that’s racing, these things happen. Once again I drove the wheels off the thing in race three and showed that we’ve got the pace to be at the front regularly. Well done to the guys for giving me a great car all weekend, hopefully I can reward them with more podiums in Knockhill!”