Rob Smith at Croft 2

Excelr8 Motorsport driver Rob Smith added three more Independents Trophy points finishes at Croft Circuit in North Yorkshire.

Rob, in his maiden season in the prestigious Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship, stays in 13th position in the Independents Trophy standings – the highest placed BTCC rookie.

The Nantwich MG6 racer also maintained his placing of equal third in the Jack Sears Trophy battle.

Smith was happy with progress made behind the scenes and especially at a track he has less experience of.

“It’s been a more positive weekend than it’s looked from the outside,” he said.

“We’ve had a new engineer working on the car with some quite drastic changes made, so we’ve taken a step back to ultimately move five or six steps further forward.

“I was quite aware this weekend there was a decent chunk of time in me, rather than the car, as I don’t have that much experience at Croft.

“Overall, I was happy with the car and feel I’ve gelled with it more in my natural driving style, so when we go to Oulton in a couple of weeks at least we’ll be at a track I know and we can carry on the developments.

“The aim is to be back where we were at Brands and Donington at least.”

Rob Smith at Croft 5

Smith battles for position

In race one at Croft, Smith finished in 22nd spot, 13th in the Independents race.

The rain had an impact again in race two, and Smith did move up into 24th on the final lap, 14th place in the Independents.

Heavy rain prior to the third and final race meant a wet, but drying, track.

Smith made a great start on treaded wet-weathers, gaining six places on the first lap to climb into 18th position. He also moved to the cusp of the Independents top 10.

An incident on lap two resulted in the appearance of the Safety Car, with Smith still holding 18th overall.

When the action got back underway on lap six he swarmed all over the back of Carl Boardley’s Volkswagen CC.

Although edged back to 19th at the hairpin, a drive-through penalty for Aiden Moffat’s Mercedes meant Smith regained 18th spot.

But drivers who gambled on dry weather tyres began to enjoy better pace and on lap 13 Smith was passed, triggering a loss of more places after running wide on mud.

Slipping to 22nd spot as a result, and 14th in the Independents battle, he stayed there to the chequered flag on lap 17.

Smith now looks ahead to his first visit as a BTCC driver to his ‘home’ track, Oulton Park Island Circuit in Cheshire, on 29th/30th June.

(Images courtesy of DSdigital/Dickon Siddall)

Rob Smith at Croft 1

Rob Smith at Croft 3

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