Rob Smith was unable to back up his podium finish on the opening weekend of the 2014 Renault UK Clio Cup at Brands Hatch with more front-running results during the second meeting of the year at Donington Park, a challenging day of racing producing just a best finish of ninth overall.
In the wet first race, Smith was in the thick of a tight battle at the bottom of the top ten with Devon Modell. After mounting a couple of challenges, a last lap move around the outside at McLeans led to him being shuffled out of position, with Lee Pattison closing in and snatching the place, leaving the Team Pyro racer to settle for eleventh at the finish.
In round four, a safe choice with set-up on a drying track stopped the 21 year old really pushing forward. Running eighth for a large period at the head of a three car battle, Smith was shuffled back to tenth in the latter stages, before returning the favour on Pattison to grab ninth on the final lap.
“I was quicker than Devon [Modell] in race one, but if I got past, I couldn’t stop the car on the apex as we had too much understeer,” explained Smith. “I got a run around the outside of him at McLeans on the last lap, I didn’t know it was the last lap otherwise I wouldn’t have risked it, but he boxed me in at Coppice which allowed Lee [Pattison] to get me on the inside for the run to the chicane.
“We underestimated how dry it was going to be in race two. In the Ginetta race just before they were still a couple of seconds off their dry lap times, so we thought it was still quite damp, but when we got to the grid it was bone dry so we had a lot of understeer. We’d gone really safe for the damp, put loads of grip on the back, but we just had too much push all the way through.”