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Chris Smiley feels he has the package to win at Donington Park

BTC Racing’s Chris Smiley says he’d “like to win” one of the trio of British Touring Car Championship races at Donington Park, feeling he has the pace for strong results at the Leicestershire circuit.

Smiley secured fourth for race one, but admitted he was disappointed at the timing of a red flag which spoilt his chances of going second when he was three tenths up on his best lap.

Despite this, he believes he has a good chance of a race victory and a strong points haul from today’s races [28 April], with the FK8 Honda Civic Type R suiting the fast, flowing circuit.

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“The red flag took our quickest time away, but the best it probably would have been would have been second with the weather conditions today,” said Smiley.

“Fourth is still a good start. I’d like to win a race today. But we also want to collect points so if the opportunity comes along to win a race, we want to do that.

“But if it doesn’t come along, and we need to risk it all to win a race, I don’t think we’re going to do that. I think we’re going to take the points and use our heads.”

Smiley topped a wet-to-dry second practice at Donington Photo: PSP Images

The Northern Irishman, who topped second practice yesterday, also believes staying clean in the opening laps will be key to success.

His BTC Racing team-mate Josh Cook starsts second but on the harder tyre, which Smiley hopes will be to his advantage in the early phase of the race.

“Josh [Cook] has the hard tyre on for race one, so he shouldn’t make my life too difficult for the first few laps,” he said.

“You never know what can happen in those first few corners.

“It’ll be cold, the rear tyres will be cold and the car won’t be nice to drive.

Anything can happen, but survive the first few laps and get our heads down and hopefully we’ll be somewhere near the front by the end.”

With the FK8 seemingly good on its tyres, Smiley is confident of race pace despite a lack of dry running, citing his previous performances at the Brands Hatch season-opener where he improved his times as the race wore on.

“I think if you look back to Brands [Hatch], I set the fastest lap on lap 22,” Smiley said.

|So this car just gets better as the race goes on, so I think on the race pace we’re going to be very strong.”

The first of three British Touring Car Championship races at Donington Park is scheduled to get underway at 11:35, but may be slightly delayed due to a red flag in the British F4 race beforehand.

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