Redstone Racing had a consistent weekend at Knockhill, with five top ten finishes secured and more development completed on the NGTC Ford Focus.
Aron Smith had his best weekend to date in the 2012 British Touring Car Championship. Having qualified third fastest, the young Irishman started off by challenging for second place before losing out to Tom Onslow-Cole.
Once the Safety Car had been withdrawn, Smith defended his position from Paul O’Neill and Gordon Shedden and missed out on his first podium finish by a tenth of a second after Shedden out dragged him to the line after a heavy hit from the Scottish driver.
Lining up fourth for the second race, Smith held his position for the opening laps before dropping to fifth after O’Neill made his move, and he wound up sixth at the flag after losing fifth to Nick Foster.
With the top ten reversed for the final race, Smith lined up fifth and as in the earlier races, had a duel with O’Neill before losing out to Foster once again, after an over ambitious passing move.
The #5 Redstone Racing driver took the flag in eighth after dropping back due to power steering issues.
“It’s been a fantastic weekend, the best of my year so far,” explained Smith. “To start off in third in qualifying was brilliant and I think we deserved P3 in race 1 if it wasn’t for the Shedden incident. We’ve made a big step forward with the car this weekend and I think we’re in a position to be very competitive.
“I can’t wait for Rockingham, hopefully we’ll have similar luck going there – three good results is all I want.”
After the successful debut of the NGTC Ford Focus at Snetterton, Mat Jackson looked to continue the form he showed in the #4 Redstone Racing car.
Having qualified ninth, he worked his way up the order to finish fifth in the first race before an unfortunate retirement in the second race after his exhaust was damaged and the team brought him in due to exposure to the exhaust fumes.
This left Jackson in 16th for the final race of the weekend and he worked his way up the order to run inside the top nine before a hit from Rob Collard demoted the Henley-in-Arden racer to tenth.
“The NGTC has run faultlessly again this weekend,” added Jackson. “We’ve shown signs of good potential and we’re certainly making progress with the car and the set up so we’re learning all the time.
“The races maybe didn’t come out the way we wanted but overall we’re moving forward; the more development we do the better we’ll be. We’re not a million miles away from the pace; we’re proving ourselves to be competitive and once again the Redstone boys have done a great job on the car.”
Oly Collins believes that the team can take plenty of positives from Knockhill, after Smith’s best BTCC weekend and another strong weekend for Jackson in the NGTC Focus.
“All in all there are a lot of positives to take away from this weekend,” added Collins. Aron drove a fantastic weekend with three top ten finishes along with one which should have been his first podium if it wasn’t for an over enthusiastic Shedden.
“We learnt a whole load more about the NGTC car which is running reliably and showing promise which I feel sure we can transform into podium challenges at Rockingham next time out. Mat drove a very sensible weekend and the whole team have once again worked amazingly well to get the results we have from both cars.”
The team heads into a four week break before rounds 22, 23 and 24 of the 2012 British Touring Car Championship, which take place at the Rockingham Motor Speedway over the 22/23 September.