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Árón Taylor Smith ‘very optimistic’ after ‘outrageous weekend’ at Oulton

Árón Taylor Smith was delighted with equalling his highest British Touring Car Championship weekend score since 2015, after a trio of top ten results at Oulton Park culminated in a podium finish.

Power Maxed Racing’s Taylor-Smith continued his strong start to the season, qualifying in eighth on Saturday before continuing his run of points-scoring finishes on Sunday, and earning a first podium finish of the season in the final race.

Despite running the less favourable hard tyre in the opening race, the Irishman gained ground to progress to seventh at the chequered flag, putting him in good stead for the rest of race day.

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Despite being involved in first corner contact with Tom Chilton at the start of race two, which in turn knocked Adam Morgan’s BMW into a spin holding Taylor-Smith up, he fought back to take fifth at the finish.

With the reverse grid draw inverting the top half dozen cars, that gave Smith second on the grid for the finale, lining up alongside team-mate Mikey Doble in what would be a memorable race for the team.

The two Vauxhall drivers made strong starts and ran in tandem for much of the race, before Taylor-Smith and eventually Doble succumbed to the rapid BMW of Jake Hill.

Nonetheless, the 34-year-old was instrumental in securing a first-ever outright double podium for the team, and he was full of praise for his team-mate, who finished ahead in second.

“To come away with a seventh, fifth and a third is a pretty outrageous weekend,” Taylor-Smith told TouringCars.Net. “It’s a credit for what Evans Halshaw have allowed this team to do, pushing the development of this car.

“Having a two-car team and Mikey, the two of us work really well together, and we can keep progressing.

“It must be said that all of these accolades are entirely the work of the crew. All we do is crash the car! They fix it and make it fast. So, it’s nice to give them a big haul of silverware, because they thoroughly deserve it.

“I’m really happy for Mikey – it’s his first ever podium and it’s been a long time coming.”

Árón Taylor Smith, Power Maxed Racing, Vauxhall Astra NGTC
Photo: Momentum Social

Taylor-Smith explained that he had to be cautious about not fighting too hard with Hill in the final race, knowing that if the door was opened he could have lost more than one place.

“For the first couple of laps Mikey had the edge. Once Jake got past Dan [Cammish], there was a train behind them, so I had to be a little bit sensible in terms of not leaving a door open anywhere, because if one gets through you go from second to 15th in the blink of an eye.

“We probably had to sacrifice three or four laps of making sure that I was tactical and how I positioned the car. Eventually Jake had great pace and got by us at the hairpin, which was fine, and it is what it is.”

The Irishman is full of optimism heading into the mid-season break, especially knowing that the circuits still to come on the calendar are places he performed the strongest at in the second half of last year.

“It’s nice to see both cars go so well. That’s what most encouraging for me. Look at any other team up and down this paddock, they may have one or two cars up at the front, but they may have one or two cars struggling, whereas this team have given us both a package that can challenge right at the sharp end.

“We now go to a few tracks which will play to our strengths even more – our bogey tracks are done. Now the circuits in the second half of the season are the ones I’m most looking forward to.

“To achieve what we have in the first five rounds, going into the summer break knowing what we can work on, be it as drivers or engineers, we can be very optimistic.”

Would Taylor-Smith now be disappointed not to end the season with at least one win? “I think both of us are very capable of doing it. Yes, I would be disappointed – it is a goal, and I think we can do it.

“It’s nice to even have those questions put to you, because I’ve spent a lot of hard years in this championship not in that position.

“I think we can do it. I’m as confident as ever, and now we go to a few tracks that I know we should fly at.”

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