Aron Smith described his Rockingham victory for Team BKR as the “sweetest” to date of his Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship career.
A former three-time BTCC winner, Smith lead from lights to flag in the final race of the day at the Corby circuit on Sunday to clinch a maiden victory for the rookie Volkswagen CC outfit, fending off double champions Gordon Shedden and Colin Turkington.
Following a tough qualifying session on Saturday in thunderstorm conditions, the rise to the fore the following day was a result that Smith himself did not think was possible.
Speaking to The Checkered Flag afterwards, Smith declared it his sweetest BTCC to date, commenting: “After qualifying we were so dejected and down in the dumps, so to come out and get a win is like nothing else.
“The other times I’ve won, we’ve always been chipping away at the front so I kind of knew it was coming.”
“After yesterday, we didn’t think it was possible. That’s what has made this so much sweeter than any other in the past. It’s the first one for BKR, I had the first one for BMR and I like the role of being involved with a team from day one and seeing them flourish.
“We had two great meetings at Brands and Donington but then form fell away a little. We just fought so hard this weekend and all of a sudden, we snatched a win.
“This team will be a force to be reckoned with next year when we have some new kit.”
The Irishman’s most recent victory was not made to be an easy one however, a brace of safety car interruptions bringing the charging Honda Civic Type-R and Subaru Levorg GT of Shedden and Turkington respectively back onto his tail during the race.
Smith said: “I set the fastest lap and got a good three seconds up the road and then all of a sudden the safety car came out and took it all away. We got away again and the same thing happened again. It was just a race of attrition. I was hoping on every restart I could get the one that I wanted.
“The first restart was one of the best I’ve ever had but then Gordon [Shedden] was a bit wiser to it and kept with me to a few car lengths, which made it tricky.”
Team BKR have enjoyed a strong debut season in BTCC, Smith currently sitting 14th in the championship during a season that he admitted has been thoroughly enjoyable.
“We’ve all become really good mates. It’s nice that we’re just a group of friends that come out to take on these big manufacturers and be able to beat them. It’s cool.”