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Árón Smith ‘delighted’ with front-row slot

Árón Smith celebrated a fifth top two finish in British Touring Car Championship qualifying of the season at Brands Hatch, as he was narrowly deprived of a second pole of 2015.

The Irishman dragged his Team BMR Volkswagen CC to second on the grid for tomorrow’s opening race behind Mat Jackson, having been forced to improve in the latter stages after his previous best effort was deleted.

Smith was also the best-placed of the BMR cars in qualifying, with title hopefuls Colin Turkington and Jason Plato only fifth and sixth, and was happy to have continued his strong qualifying form.

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“I’m unbelievably happy,” he exclaimed. “We worked hard in practice with what we had and just found what I needed to concentrate on in qualifying and put a lap together and got the most out of it.

“It’s my fifth front row of the year now – that’s fifty per-cent of the races where I’ve qualified in the top two which I think is an unbelievable effort.”

Desipte qualifying a tenth-of-a-second slower than Motorbase’s Jackson, Smith was less certain about whether or not he would be able to stay with the Ford in the opening race.

“It’s so hard to say. They’re doing a great job, but they’re fast. Mat’s getting the most out of it – he’s always going to be near the front, he just has a very strong car underneath him.

“If I can get by him, so be it, but me and Mat normally work quite well together so it will be a case of getting off the line well, whoever’s in front by Turn 2 [or] 3, get our heads down and drive off into the distance – that’s the plan.”

Smith’s position sees championship leader Gordon Shedden sandwiched between himself and team-mates Turkington and Plato, but the 25 year-old insisted that he was focused on securing as good a result for himself as possible.

“I’m going to get my head down and let them go,” said Smith when probed by TouringCars.Net about any potential team orders. “The problem is with Shedden, he has to not finish. It doesn’t matter if I back them up and Jason and Colin get by, it’s only a handful of points.

“If they’re behind me, I’ll let them through. If not, I’m just going to crack on.”

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