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, 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’.

Supporting Shropshire Live...
Shropshire Live
Shropshire Live has been providing Shropshire with independent news and entertainment since 2009. Send us your news to interact@shropshirelive.com or call 01743 818 095. For advertising information call Fiona on 01743 816 817.

Featured Articles

The event will be held at Southwater’s QEII Arena in Telford Town Park on the 7th and 8th June

Shropshire Pub in the Park announces comedy and music line-up

Shropshire Festivals are launching a brand-new event this summer that will turn the best bits about going to the pub in to a beer festival for Shropshire.
1st Choice Insurance Team

Local Commercial Insurance, With Premium Service

Local Commercial Insurance, With Premium Service - “That’s 1st Choice in a nutshell”

Follies Festival returns to Hawkstone Park

Hawkstone Park is bringing back Follies Festival, for a wonderful weekend of family entertainment, Friday 5th - Sunday 7th July 2019.
Bolddog Lings Motorcycle Display Team - Shropshire County Show

Competition: Win Family Tickets to the Shropshire County Show 2019

The 2019 Shropshire County Show is set for spectacular year, with something for the whole family to enjoy.

Scan to prevent unnecessary caesareans is positive news

In April, researchers at Cambridge University revealed that an extra ultrasound scan, offered to mothers-to-be at 36 weeks to facilitate the early detection of breech babies, could prevent unnecessary c-sections.
- Advertisement -
Firefighters at the scene of the incident Photo: Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service

Firefighters extinguish oven fire at bakery in Market Drayton

Firefighters were called to a fire involving a commercial oven at Palethorpes Bakery in Market Drayton yesterday evening.

Three arrested after man is stabbed in Shrewsbury

Three people have been arrested after a man was stabbed in Shrewsbury on Monday night.
Lingen Davies Cancer Fund, have raised £1.25 million to celebrate their 40th Anniversary

Lingen Davies Cancer Fund smashes 40th anniversary fundraising target

Local charity Lingen Davies Cancer Fund, have raised £1.25 million to celebrate their 40th Anniversary.
Freya Anderson has become a double British Champion

Ellesmere College Titan Freya Anderson strikes gold in Glasgow

Ellesmere College Titans swimmer Freya Anderson has become a double British Champion after striking gold at this year’s British Swimming Championships.

Weaver makes Telford Tigers return

Telford Tigers have welcomed the return of former Great Britain defenseman Jonathan Weaver for the 2019/20 season.
Shrewsbury’s Monkmoor Recreation Ground will be taking part in the Great British Tennis Weekend this Sunday

Shropshire clubs serving up free tennis activities around the county this weekend

A number of Shropshire clubs will be serving up free tennis this weekend as they invite members of their local communities to see what they have to offer.
- Advertisement -
David Raymont with mfg Solicitors Chairman Maynard Burton

New partner boosts Shropshire law firm’s commercial property team

Shropshire law firm mfg Solicitors has bolstered its commercial property offering with the appointment of a new partner at its Telford office.
The building is currently let to EET Europarts Ltd on a five-year lease. Photo: Google Street View

TSR complete significant sale at Shrewsbury’s Battlefield Enterprise Park

A private investor has completed the significant purchase of a modern detached industrial building at Shrewsbury’s Battlefield Enterprise Park.
Rhea Alton, Fliss Robert and Kirsty Smallman of J&PR

Shropshire PR firm expands as they celebrate another record year

A thriving Shropshire PR firm has expanded the team with a former journalist and news editor with years of experience in the industry.
The curlew was incubated as an egg and reared in its local landscape. Photo: GWCT

UK first for ground-breaking Shropshire curlew project

A Curlew that has been incubated as an egg and reared in its local landscape has successfully returned home for the first time ever.
1st Choice Insurance Team

Local Commercial Insurance, With Premium Service

Local Commercial Insurance, With Premium Service - “That’s 1st Choice in a nutshell”
Hall conservation cleaning volunteers Ann and Chris

Spring cleaning takes place on a grand scale at Morville Hall

Visitors to Morville Hall, a National Trust property near Bridgnorth in Shropshire, will see what it takes to spring clean on a grand scale, when doors open this Friday and Saturday 10 and 11 May.
- Advertisement -
Tony Clarkson from The Hive’s Creative Advisory Board preparing for the Street Festival with Daniel Lloyd, Digital Marketing Manager, and Sal Hampson, Project Manager

The Hive to showcase activities at family fun day

A family fun day is being run by The Hive in Belmont, Shrewsbury on Saturday 25 May to showcase the vast range of exciting activities that the arts organisation offers.
An image of the comic artwork of Charlie Adlard that will feature in the Drawn of the Dead exhibition at Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery

Drawn of the Dead coming to Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery

Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery are preparing to open a new exhibition ‘Drawn of the Dead’ celebrating the work of internationally famous comic artist and former Comics Laureate, Charlie Adlard.

Get Your Wigle On to hold open auditions for SHREK the musical

Open auditions will be held next month to join award winning Shropshire Musical Theatre company, Get Your Wigle On as they stage Shrek the musical.

All aboard! SVR launches its first Cocktail Express service

Visitors to the Severn Valley Railway this May bank holiday weekend can enjoy a truly indulgent experience on board the SVR’s very first Cocktail Express service.
The Castle Hotel in Bishop's Castle

Bishop’s Castle Hotel to celebrate 300th birthday

The Castle Hotel in Bishop’s Castle is to celebrate its 300th birthday in June with a garden party.
The event will be held at Southwater’s QEII Arena in Telford Town Park on the 7th and 8th June

Shropshire Pub in the Park announces comedy and music line-up

Shropshire Festivals are launching a brand-new event this summer that will turn the best bits about going to the pub in to a beer festival for Shropshire.

Featured Articles

- Advertisment -

Weather

Shropshire
mist
9.9 ° C
10.6 °
8.3 °
93 %
1.5kmh
99 %
Sun
15 °
Mon
15 °
Tue
15 °
Wed
15 °
Thu
14 °
- Advertisment -
- Advertisment -

Latest Articles

- Advertisment -