Aron Smith missed out on a second pole position of the 2015 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship season by just 0.126s at Brands Hatch GP circuit, saying he will play his own game until his Team BMR team-mates require support in their title fight.
The Irishman will join pole-sitter Mat Jackson on the front row of the grid for the opening race at the Kent circuit on Sunday, qualifying top of the BMR Volkswagen CC quartet in the 30-minute Saturday session.
“I’m unbelievably happy,” he told The Checkered Flag after snatching another front row slot.
“We worked hard in practice with what we had and just found what I needed to concentrate on in qualifying and put a lap together and got the most out of it.
“It’s my fifth front row of the year now – that’s fifty per-cent of the races where I’ve qualified in the top two which I think is an unbelievable effort.”
Smith, despite being a front-runner all season and a pole-sitter at Thruxton earlier in the year, remains still hunting for that elusive first win of 2015.
The three-time BTCC race winner expects Jackson to be tough opposition with zero weight in his Ford Focus ST, but the Volkswagen man says that he is more than capable of taking the fight to his rival.
He said: “If I can get by him, so be it, but me and Mat normally work quite well together so it will be a case of getting off the line well, whoever’s in front by Turn 2 [or] 3, get our heads down and drive off into the distance – that’s the plan.”
On the pace of Jackson’s Ford, Smith added: “It’s so hard to say. They’re doing a great job, but they’re fast. Mat’s getting the most out of it – he’s always going to be near the front, he just has a very strong car underneath him.”
BMR are not only heading the Teams’ Championship, but also have Jason Plato and Colin Turkington still in contention to win the Drivers’ Championship on Sunday afternoon. With that in mind, Smith admitted that he will play a supporting role to his team-mates, but only when necessary.
“I’m going to get my head down and let them go,” added Smith. “The problem is with Shedden – he has to not finish. It doesn’t matter if I back them up and Jason and Colin get by, it’s only a handful of points.
“If they’re behind me, I’ll let them through. If not, I’m just going to crack on.”