Circumstances conspire against Telford’s Smith at Snetterton

Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship driver Rob Smith found himself well and truly in the wars during the sixth event of the 2019 season at Snetterton 300 Circuit over the weekend, 3rd/4th August, after being on the receiving end of overly robust contact in all three races.

Rob smith on the track at Snetterton. Photo: DSdigital/Dickon Siddall
Rob smith on the track at Snetterton. Photo: DSdigital/Dickon Siddall

Aiming to get the second half of the campaign off to the strongest possible start, instead the Telford racer experienced a hugely frustrating outing where on-track delays and multiple incidents stymied his points-scoring potential.

Having battled to 17th place in the Independents Trophy fight in round 16 on Sunday morning, Smith was then forced into retirement early in round 17 in his Excelr8 Motorsport prepared car. Bouncing back in round 18, the BTCC rookie managed to work his way into the outright top 20 from the back of the grid and placed 12th in the Independents during a true race of attrition.

Positively, Smith’s pace in the third encounter at the wheel of his Draper Tools, Lane Roofing, BMTR, Genco Logistics, CAM Systems, Evolution Fire and Security, Third Millennium, Rocket Graphics, Credo Asset Finance and Integro Insurance Brokers liveried MG6 was a match for the outright top eight.

“It was a difficult one”, he reflected, “The racing was what it was, when you qualify where we did this weekend you’re always going to get involved in contact – things are out of your control. Driving standards were pretty poor on Sunday, and from drivers who should know a lot better, and as soon as you’re delayed you get separated into smaller groups and the main pack gets away.

“From a mental point of view, we started the weekend very positively and hopes were high of making good progress. But everything we tried after FP1 didn’t work out and it made for a very tough raceday. Having said that, though, I was happy with our pace in race three which was pretty strong. I think we just need to press the reset button for Thruxton and look forward.”

Snetterton’s annual summer BTCC event brought with it a new experience for the competitors and teams, with all three compounds of Dunlop tyres – soft, medium and hard – to be used across the three races.

Beginning the weekend happy with the progress made in opening free practice on Saturday morning, and also with the pace shown relative to the competition, Smith was less satisfied with session two which didn’t go to plan. In qualifying, the MG6 racer ended up 27th on the grid for the first contest.

Selecting the hard compound tyres for round 16, taking a longer term view for the remainder of raceday, Smith safely made his way through the first few turns and later in the lap at the Esses he was able to gain several places when a group of drivers ahead tangled.

Emerging in 24th position overall, 14th in the Independents battle, Smith lost a handful of places over the next few robust laps but regained some ground as rivals began to encounter troubles with punctures and excursions. Into the final quarter of the contest Smith held 25th spot and 16th in class but an unfortunate moment on the final lap dropped him to 26th and 17th.

For round 17 he chose to run the soft Dunlops and from the 13th row of the grid Smith got away cleanly. Incredibly, his plans were ruined almost immediately when he had to stand on the brakes at the first corner in order to avoid collecting Matt Neal’s sideways Honda Civic.

Costing Smith dearly, he dropped to 26th position overall and 17th in the Independents Trophy, he did manage to move up into the top 25 and top 15 in class over the next few laps. Then, on lap five, his race came to an all-too early conclusion when he had to retire to the pits with damage.

With a mountain to climb in the third and final contest from 28th on the grid, Smith had the medium compound tyres to utilise for the finale but his opening lap was again compromised when a tangle just ahead at the exit of the hairpin meant he was delayed for the second race in succession.

Although gaining a place into 27th overall, 17th in the Independents, without the lap one dramas it would undoubtedly have been more. Undeterred, the MG6 driver pressed on and while all around seemed to lose their heads, Smith steadily progressed up the order through the unfolding chaos.

By lap eight he was into the top 15 of the Independents Trophy battle, 24th place overall, and during the latter stages he was able to make significant gains. Breaking into the outright top 20 with two laps to go, as very light rain started to fall, he ultimately ended the race in 19th position and inside the Independents top 12 to bring a positive end to an otherwise frustrating weekend.

Next on the British Touring Car Championship calendar is the second of two visits this year to the unmistakeable Thruxton Circuit in Hampshire. Rounds 19, 20 and 21 will take place just a fortnight from now on Sunday, 18th August.

“It’s good to be going back to Thruxton next as we’ve obviously raced there already this season, so there’s data for us to go through and work from”, said Smith, “I’m more comfortable with the car now than when we were at Thruxton earlier in the season, you need to feel on top of the car at such a unique and quick track so knowing what we know now I’m hoping we’ll be stronger.”

2019 Kwik Fit BTCC Independents Trophy Standings: 16th Rob Smith, 48pts

2019 Jack Sears Trophy Standings: 5th Rob Smith, 156pts

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

Featured Articles

aico new build

Aico Open Day to welcome local community and employees

Aico, the Market Leader in domestic Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms, will be relocating in October 2019 to a brand-new purpose-built three storey building in Oswestry.
Summer in Shropshire

Things to do this Summer in Shropshire

There is so much going on across Shropshire this Summer, here are some events and things to do to get you out and about across our county.

Four arrested in Telford as part of crime crackdown

Four people were arrested in Telford early this morning as part of a crime crackdown.

Sky ceilings to help improve patient experience at PRH

Five stunning sky murals are to feature on two wards at the Princess Royal Hospital in Telford to improve care for patients.
The robbery took place at a cashpoint outside the TSB Bank in Wellington. Photo: West Mercia Police

Elderly man robbed whilst using cashpoint in Wellington

Police are investigating after an elderly man was robbed whilst using a cashpoint in Wellington on Thursday afternoon.

Match Report: Shrewsbury Town 0 – 0 Rochdale

Neither side were able to break the deadlock as Shrewsbury Town and Rochdale played out a goalless draw.

Match Preview: Shrewsbury Town v Rochdale

Shrewsbury Town will be looking to avenge their heavy cup defeat when they welcome Rochdale tomorrow.
Shropshire’s Academy side line up before their most recent match at Cheshire last month

Shropshire Academy cricketers looking forward to playing at the home of Worcestershire CCC

Coach Ian Roe insists the opportunity to play at the home of Worcestershire County Cricket Club this weekend is an exciting prospect for Shropshire’s Academy side.
- Advertising -
A new campaign will promote independent traders on Wyle Cop

Shrewsbury retailers join forces to promote independents

A new campaign promoting one of Shropshire’s most famous shopping streets is being launched.
Mariella Frostrup and Robin Morris cutting the 150th anniversary cake

Show is summer centrepiece for Morris & Company’s year of celebration

Shrewsbury Flower Show was the dazzling centrepiece of summer celebrations to mark the 150th anniversary of Morris & Company.
Nick Lovett believes he may have a stylish answer to help people in Birmingham and London avoid congestion, charges and rising travel costs

Shropshire entrepreneur gets on his bike to offer solution to congested cities

A Shropshire entrepreneur believes he may have a stylish answer to help people in Birmingham and London avoid congestion, charges and rising travel costs.
Horatio’s Garden Oswestry was created by acclaimed garden designer and Gardeners’ Question Time panellist, Bunny Guinness. Photo: Mandy Jones

Horatio’s Garden Oswestry seeks volunteers

UK charity Horatio’s Garden are looking for volunteers to join their new, friendly team at their recently opened Oswestry garden.
Sally Raw Rees during her skydive in Tilstock, Whitchurch

Fearless fundraiser takes part in charity skydive

Fearless fundraiser Sally Raw Rees has raised over £900 for Age UK Shropshire Telford & Wrekin by turning her skydiving dream into reality.
Robert Wade, left, from Bicycles By Design and Endangered Crafts Officer Mary Lewis

Shropshire festival fighting for endangered crafts

More than 200 heritage crafts are at risk of becoming extinct in the UK, and the battle is on to save some of the crafts indigenous to the Ironbridge Gorge.
- Advertising -

Free Mini exhibition drives into Shrewsbury prison

Mini is 60 and to mark the occasion The West Midlands Mini Owners Group are celebrating behind the high walls of Shrewsbury Prison this Bank Holiday weekend.
Georgie Dixon, marketing and event coordinator at sponsors Rybrook Shrewsbury with Hannah Gamston, event manager at Severn Hospice

Severn Hospice revs up support for outdoor cinema

A Shropshire car dealership is revving up support for a local charity by backing its upcoming outdoor cinema screening events.
David Domoney from ITV’s Love Your Garden is appearing at this year's show

Final preparations take place ahead of Shrewsbury Flower Show

Organisers of this year’s Shrewsbury Flower Show are putting the final touches to The Quarry ahead of what promises to be another bumper event.
Publican Lance Pettet outside The Lamb Inn

£285,000 investment breathes new life into The Lamb Inn, Edgmond

The Lamb Inn, situated in the village of Edgmond near Newport has reopened following a £285,000 investment.
Wood's Brewery

Wood’s launch festival in South Shropshire

Wood Brewery are throwing open their doors for ‘Wood’s Fest – Bash at the Brewery’ in Wistanstow, near Church Stretton on Saturday, 24 August.
Beatons Tearooms deliver a stylish take on quintessential afternoon tea

Beatons Tearooms and Bookshop to open in Wellington

Beatons Tearooms and Bookshop have confirmed that it will soon be opening its doors in Market Square, Wellington.
- Advertisment -

Featured Articles


few clouds
13.5 ° C
14 °
13 °
82 %
20 %
20 °
17 °
18 °
18 °
19 °
- Advertisment -
- Advertisment -

Latest Articles

- Advertisment -