Fresh from securing his maiden Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship pole position at Brands Hatch, Jeff Smith says the softer tyre compound will be his weapon of choice in race one.
The Eurotech Racing driver set his best lap of a hectic 30-minute qualifying session just moments before the first of two crucial downpours in Kent, clinching pole position ahead of Speedworks Motorsport‘s Tom Ingram.
Confidence behind the wheel was at a personal high for the 51-year-old, best of the five Honda Civic Type-Rs that qualified inside the top 10.
“If I can get in a car that gives me confidence, you just go quicker and quicker”, the pole man told The Checkered Flag. “You can push it to limit and even beyond sometimes.
“I had a few moments in that session, but you’ve got to try harder. Nothing that was too out of control.
“Some of it has fallen into my lap at certain points, but that could happen to anybody. Matt Neal was on track in front of me so he had chosen the right time as well.”
The afternoon was one of progression for Smith and Eurotech, turning the performance of the Civic around considerably from a disappointing morning.
“FP1 was horrendous”, he said. “FP2 was pretty good and in qualifying it was mega compared to the cars that were around us.”
Smith will tackle race one using the softer Dunlop tyre compound, something which he hopes will help his defence of the race lead on Sunday.
“Rewind the clocks a few hours and I wouldn’t have picked that”, he added on the softer tyre selection. “As long as I can get a reasonable start then that will be good enough. The tricky thing is avoiding wheelspin dragging you towards the wall.
“Fortunately there’s no RWD cars close around us. On the soft tyre, if we can put a few good clean laps together then I genuinely think we can get away.”