Árón Smith was thrilled with his second British Touring Car Championship win of the season at Snetterton, after he controlled the day’s final race from start to finish.
Smith started race three from pole after his eighth-place in race two was selected for the reverse-grid finale, and held onto the lead throughout the 12-lap race to claim his third career victory and his team’s second, despite facing pressure from his former employers in the form of Fabrizio Giovanardi and Mat Jackson.
And speaking to TouringCars.Net after the race, the 24-year-old revealed that while his winning margin of 0.444s might have looked small, it was all part of his race plan.
“Catching the reverse grid is great,” beamed Smith. “We knew we were on the soft which is a bit more of a struggle than the standard so I just thought if I was leading at the end of the first lap we have a chance of this once I manage these tyres.
“That’s all it was – it was just a case of making sure to look after the tyre and not abuse it because then I’d have something left.
“I think we could have pulled away at the halfway point of the race but I just backed it off just to keep looking after them [the tyres], and we’ve come away with a second win of the year.”
But the Dublin-born racer revealed that part of the strategy behind his success came while he was at the wheel, as he looked to conserve life in his tyres.
“I knew not to push through Coram [the second to last corner] because they can’t overtake through there so there was no point in ripping my tyres, so I just backed it off, took it easy and looked after the tyre, let them pull in five or six car lengths and then gaped them through the whole of the infield. That was the plan from lap one, so if someone was really hassling me I could give it like a whip and really go for it.”
Heading into the season, Alain Menu’s return to the BTCC had been the topic of the majority of debate regarding Smith’s BMR Restart team, but with his second win consolidating his ninth place in the championship, Smith was pleased with his pace compared to his more illustrious teammate.
“I knew it would be a race-winning car,” affirmed Smith. “I don’t want to sound cocky but I knew if the equipment was right on it we would give it a good run for its money.
“I don’t think everybody else would have picked me ahead of Alain coming in [to the season], but I knew in myself that I had enough self-belief to know that I could do this and I hope that people are noticing.”
The series’ next stop is Knockhill where Smith first made a name for himself in 2011 when he scored a point on his debut, but the Irishman made no firm noises about his chances heading to Scotland.
“It’s hard to know [where we’ll be]. I first burst onto the scene there when we qualified third in my first year.
“I like the circuit, I haven’t driven the Passat around it but Warren was very quick in it there last year so I think the car is going to be good and I’m just looking forward to having a proper go and seeing what comes of it.”