Rob Smith crash - pic by Mike Inkley

Nantwich racing driver Rob Smith survived a dramatic crash in his home British Touring Car Championship outing at Cheshire circuit Oulton Park.

The huge, car-wrecking incident in race two was beamed live across the UK on ITV4.

Smith was in the wars in race one when a collision halted his early ascent up the order and limited the MG6 driver to 16th.

Worse was to follow in race two when contact from a rival at the last corner on the final lap led to the dramatic and impact with the barriers on the outside, almost pitching Smith’s car into a full barrel roll.

Smith fortunately emerged unscathed from the car but the damage to the MG6 ruled him out of race three.

“Obviously, the incident in race two was big but I wasn’t hurt thankfully – although the same couldn’t be said for the car”, said Smith.

Rob Smith driver

Rob Smith

“It was a big impact, the shell was badly damaged as well as both subframes and there was no time to repair the car for the last race.

“Now, we’re focused on being back for the Snetterton tyre test during the summer break which will be very important.”

Smith started round 13 on Sunday from a lower than expected 28th on the grid and he utilised the soft compound ‘option’ tyres for the opening encounter.

He set about challenging ex-Formula One and Le Mans racer Mark Blundell a few laps later but at the end of lap four they made contact and the MG6 was forced out wide over the grass.

Dropping to last position, Smith hit back to get ahead of Blundell into Old Hall at the start of lap five for 29th and then moved back into 28th after an excursion for Matt Neal.

The Excelr8 driver ended the encounter in 24th place overall and 16th in the Independents Trophy class and focused on making greater improvements in race two.

Rob Smith at Oulton Park

Smith was in the thick of the battle throughout when the safety car emerged after his Excelr8 team-mate Sam Osborne crashed out.

On the re-start Smith soon moved up into 13th in the Independents before setting about challenging the VW of Michael Crees.

Getting alongside through the final corner on the last lap, the VW moved into the MG6 and Smith was pitched hard into the barriers.

Smith added: “Qualifying is so crucial here, but we went with a different set-up which didn’t work.

“In FP1 I was happy with the pace on old tyres, knowing how much time we’d gain on new tyres, but a set-up we ran in FP2 which my team-mate Sam [Osborne] had liked didn’t work for me and it was the same in qualifying.

“We went back to what we knew for raceday and the first race was just unfortunate, contact from [Mark] Blundell lost me a few places but I battled well after that and was fairly happy.

“We’ve gone a direction with the car which is encouraging, I’m now starting to ask to get a bit more oversteer into it which shows the hard work is done and now we just need to make those final tweaks.”

Snetterton 300 Circuit in Norfolk will kick-off the second half of the BTCC season five weeks from now on August 3-4.

(Featured image, top, by Mike Inkley. Other pics courtesy of DSdigital/Dickon Siddall)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

By using this form you agree with the storage and handling of your data by this website, to learn more please read our privacy policy.

*

Captcha * Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.