Aron Smith Hopes Knockhill Will Prove Breakthrough Weekend

by Scott Mitchell

After his strongest showing so far in the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship series rookie Aron Smith was delighted to see a weekend come together at Knockhill.

The 22-year-old qualified third and after making the headlines in an action-packed race one, narrowly missed out on a podium after contact with Gordon Shedden 

He still left Scotland with a fourth, sixth and an eighth under his belt, and the Dubliner confesses he had been looking forward to the Scottish track since the start of the season.

He made his touring car debut there in 2011 and impressed after qualifying just a tenth shy of regular Vauxhall runners Andrew Jordan and eventual Independents Champion James Nash, and would sneak a top ten finish in his first race.

“I never really put too much expectations on myself,” he told, “but all season I was excited to get to go to Knockhill.

“Last year I raced the 888 Vectra around there so it was the first time I’ve gotten to return to a track as a touring car driver. All the little things add up but it has to be said that the team gave me an amazing car so that certainly made my life a lot easier!”

His debut season has been trying at times, with tough races at Oulton Park and Croft, but his Knockhill score saw him break through the 100-point barrier, just shy of the top ten of the championship. Smith maintains the “breakthrough” weekend was only a matter of when, and not if.

He said: “I would like to say the writing’s been on the wall for a few weekends now but luck hasn’t been on our side. I do think the team and I have found something that makes the car tick for me!

“I guess that’s a good point,” he added, when asked if only a podium would do for the rest of the season. “I haven’t really thought about it! As always I’ll just do my best and if my best is good enough to put me at the front then happy days.”

Between Snetterton and Knockhill came the opportunity to test the brand new NGTC Redstone Racing Ford Focus – something Smith was very eager to do – though this was taken away from him at the very last second.

“Believe it or not I got as close as sitting in the pit lane at Brands,” he explained, “but then the heavens opened so that quickly put an end to that session! The team have been great throughout the development of the car and I plan on being on duty for every test to try and rob another go in Mat’s new toy!

Smith holds the Motorbase-run outfit in very high regards and with 2013 creeping ever closer, hopes he can play a part in the team’s first full season as a manufacturer.

“For 2013 I would love to be with Redstone once again,” he said. “To be honest I can’t really imagine myself being part of another team. This year has been unreal and I guess the ups and downs can be somewhat accounted to it being my first year.

“Hopefully next year I can come out of the box fighting with what I’ve learnt from this year.”

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