Aron Smith hopes for a change of luck in the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship’s June visit to Oulton Park, after a puncture and a collision damaged his chances in last weekend’s trio of races at Thruxton.
The BMR Racing driver added a first qualifying pole position to his name on Saturday afternoon, but a puncture while third in race one scuppered a strong start to his Sunday at the Hampshire circuit. Race two also saw the Volkswagen CC driver involved in contact with Matt Neal‘s Honda Civic Type-R at the Complex, dropping him to 11th from fifth before netting eighth place in the final encounter of the day.
The tyre failure out of his control, the BMR Racing man felt that a brace of podium finishes were potentially taken from his grasp. Referring back to incidents at Brands Hatch and Donington, Smith told The Checkered Flag he felt luck was again not on his side at Thruxton, saying: “We didn’t get the divends we deserved I feel.
“It just wasn’t our day – that’s the moral of the story. I gave it absolutely everything that I had. We probably should have had a double podium but in race one the puncture really let me down.”
Smith’s second race was damaged by right-rear contact from the Honda of Neal heading into the first section of the Complex on lap seven, causing suspension damage as he fought to an eventual 11th place.
“After the hit I was concentrating so much”, Smith added on the incident, for which Neal picked up a verbal warning afterwards. “The contact bent the rear in 19mm.
“In race three it was just hard to make progress which I wanted to make.”
The positive he said he takes away from the weekend in Hampshire was a qualifying breakthrough the previous day, the BMR driver claiming his maiden BTCC pole position from a Saturday afternoon.
Smith believes that the gap was closed between the different manufacturers at Thruxton, adding: “I think that the other cars had closed the gap to us around this circuit. But I still leave here with the massive positive of my first ever pole position.”
The Irishman returns next to an Oulton Park circuit he famously clinched BMR Racing’s first BTCC victory at last year, confident of repeating the feat should the cards fall in his direction at Cheshire on 6/7 June.
“I’m due some good luck now!” Smith concluded. “We get a few breaks in the next couple of weekends and then all of a sudden we’ll be back up the sharp end.
“I’m not concerned at all because I know the pace is there, the car is good and I know we can do it.”
Smith now lies 10th in the Drivers’ Championship, BMR Racing still topping the Teams’ Championship over Honda Yuasa Racing by 16 points.