Rob Smith put together a career-best performance during the opening rounds of the 2014 Renault UK Clio Cup at Brands Hatch, claiming his first ever outright series podium, and also his maiden Graduate Cup class win.
From fourth on the grid in the opening race, the 21 year old made a great start to moving into third, before mounting a bold pass around the outside at Paddock Hill Bend to take second.
Keeping within a few tenths of a second of the leader during the first half of the race, Smith looked to mount a challenge before a slow puncture left him to settle for second, securing him an outright podium and Graduate honours for the first time.
Smith started the televised second round from the second row of the grid once again, and was part of a close four-way battle for the race lead over the first half of the race. As it entered its latter stages though, Smith succumb to mounting pressure from behind and ultimately ended the race in fifth position.
The two top five finishes meant Smith ended the weekend third in the overall championship, a point shy of second place, and with the lead in the Graduate Cup.
“I’m over the moon, can’t believe it, I couldn’t have asked for a better start to the season,” said the Team Pyro racer.
“We had good pace right from qualifying and in the first race I felt comfortable in second place, I think we had a chance to have a nibble for the lead if it hadn’t been for a puncture in the second half of the race. All in all though, it’s been a fantastic weekend.”