With Mat Jackson being handed a brand new NGTC Ford Focus ST to shakedown, Aron Smith has been left to fight the Redstone Racing corner at Snetterton.

Liam Griffin’s previously confirmed absence has left the TCF blogger the team’s lone S2000 entrant but the pressure to score points is not getting to the series rookie.

Even a trying qualifying session, where a Gordon Shedden-induced red flag scuppered his first run on new tyres, has not left Smith too discouraged.

“It’s been up and down,” he said to theCheckeredFlag.co.uk. “The two free practices were a little bit frustrating; we had brake problems and had to retire early so there was no qualifying simulation run.

“But that’s kind of life. Usually come race day we’re bang on the pace.”

The Motorsport Ireland Young Driver of the Year won here last year en route to becoming the 2011 Renault Clio Cup runner-up and he is looking forward to having a stronger race tomorrow.

“Just don’t get caught up in anything. I normally move forward so if I can get a top eight in race one, then a top six in race two, and be in with a chance of being on the front row for race three, then you never know.

“The reverse grid is like a bonus race, you could get a big break if things go your way behind you, it’s so close, that’s all you need.”

Sitting next to Smith’s Focus in the Motorbase garage is Jackson’s new NGTC machine, of which the Irishman is a big fan.

“It looks the part,” he said. “It’s so cool. I think it’ll be really, really strong.”