VALIANT SMITH BATTLES VALENCIA MISFORTUNE Britain's Dean Smith is aiming for a turnaround in fortunes on home soil a fortnight from now when the GP3 Series heads to Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit -- the McLaren Autosport BRDC Award winner ...
VALIANT SMITH BATTLES VALENCIA MISFORTUNE
Britain's Dean Smith is aiming for a turnaround in fortunes on home soil a fortnight from now when the GP3 Series heads to Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit -- the McLaren Autosport BRDC Award winner having experienced a luckless outing in Valencia over the weekend, 26th/27th June.
Things started very promisingly at the Spanish city's demanding street circuit for the Racing Steps Foundation supported 22-year-old during practice on Friday, 25th June, where he posted the third fastest time of 1m59.818 seconds, just 0.3 seconds shy of the outright pace.
Dean's run of misfortune began to surface during qualifying on Saturday morning when his second set of tyres didn't come good in time and the session ended just as the grip and pace available to him improved.
In the top five as he pitted to change to a fresh set of rubber, the Wolverhampton-based driver then fell down the timesheets as the new tyres took a long time to build-up grip levels -- too long as it transpired and he ended up an uncharacteristic 25th on the grid for race one.
Making excellent initial progress at the start of round five, Dean came through a chaotic first lap unscathed to climb into 17th position behind Ivan Lukashevich before passing around the outside at Turn 12. Pushed wide over the kerbs by the Russian, Dean emerged ahead but was forced to back off and hand the position back several laps later.
Accepting the decision of the race officials, he then had a frustrating run to the flag tight behind Lukashevich with just two 10ths of a second separating the pair at the conclusion. Prior to handing the place back, the Tomax-managed BRDC Superstar had pulled out a four second advantage.
Starting 17th on the grid for Sunday morning's sixth round, the Carlin racer got away well once again and scythed his way through into the top 12 by lap three. His great gains were halted shortly after though when his engine dramatically cut-out. Although managing to fire-up the powerplant once again, the enforced tumble down the order led to an eventual finish of 23rd place.
"It's been a weekend to forget", said Dean, "Things started to go wrong in qualifying when we changed to the second set of tyres. On the first set, we were in the top five but the second set didn't come to me in time as it was taking four or five laps to get the best from them -- we just ran out of time. In retrospect, we should have stayed on the first set.
"In the first race, I overtook a couple of cars off the start and felt much quicker than the cars ahead but I got pushed wide over the kerbs when passing (Ivan) Lukashevich and the team then told me I had to let him back past a few laps later. I'd pulled four seconds clear at the time so that ruined the race as we were then stuck behind him to the finish."
Dean added: "We made progress well at the start of race two, I was into the top 12 but on lap three the engine cut-out. I had to stop the car, close everything down and then get it re-started. From then on the car ran ok without a problem but we were miles down the order. It's been a really frustrating weekend but I'm aiming for a much better, trouble-free run at Silverstone in a couple of weeks."
Rounds seven and eight of the 2010 GP3 Series -- undoubtedly the biggest event of the year for Dean -- will take place two weeks from now, 10th/11th July, at Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit as support to the FIA Formula One World Championship's annual visit to the UK.
Ahead of the British Grand Prix weekend, Dean's brand new website has also gone live -- please visit www.deansmithproracing.co.uk for all the latest news and information
-source: dean smith