EU 2.0: Dean Smith Estoril race two report

SEASON'S BEST EUROCUP FINISH FOR SMITH IN PORTUGAL Eurocup Formula Renault star Dean Smith ran strongly to his best finish of the campaign at Estoril in Portugal earlier today, Sunday, 28th September -- the Wolverhampton driver securing a top...

SEASON'S BEST EUROCUP FINISH FOR SMITH IN PORTUGAL

Eurocup Formula Renault star Dean Smith ran strongly to his best finish of the campaign at Estoril in Portugal earlier today, Sunday, 28th September -- the Wolverhampton driver securing a top six finish during the 12th round of the 2008 championship.

Lining up eighth on the grid, thanks to his second best time from Saturday's Superpole session of 1m 37.064 seconds, the Fortec Motorsport racer made a good start and instantly climbed two positions into the top six.

Although receiving contact twice on the opening lap, the 20-year-old British Racing Drivers' Club (BRDC) Rising Star managed to emerge relatively unscathed but was unable to shake off the hotly pursuing Roberto Merhi for the duration of the 15 lap race.

The Safety Car was deployed on two separate occasions, first between laps two and four when oil was dropped on the track after a lap one incident, and again on lap 13 with just two and half minutes remaining on the clock.

With time ticking down, competitors were given one final racing lap at the re-start on lap 15 but the order remained the same with Dean taking the chequered flag just eight 10ths of a second behind fifth placed Pal Varhaug and four 10ths of a second ahead of Merhi.

Dean's best lap of 1m 38.288 seconds (153.2 km/h) was just half a second shy of the quickest of the race posted by winner Valtteri Bottas.

Speaking after round 12, the West Midlands ace said: "It was good today, I made a nice start and although I did get hit at the first corner and again at the third corner, I was ok but just couldn't break the tow of (Roberto) Merhi behind me. Therefore, I couldn't catch the car ahead as I had to bear in mind Merhi was right on my tail all the while.

"Overall, this weekend has been a lot better than recent races. Estoril is a good track but it's not actually a circuit which suits me, so to score points in both races is good. We visit Catalunya next and I know that's a track which I really do enjoy. Now we have more straight-line speed from the car I'm confident we can fight for the podium there."

The final event of the 2008 Eurocup Formula Renault Championship season, rounds 13 and 14, will take place three weeks from now at Barcelona, Spain, over the weekend 18th/19th October.

Smith to make F3 race debut at Donington Park Dean is delighted to officially confirm he will make his competitive Formula 3 debut two weeks from now, 11th/12th October, during the 2008 British F3 International Series finale at Donington Park in Leicestershire.

Graduating to F3 with Daventry-based Fortec for his maiden outing in the category, the West Midlands star will actually test the car tomorrow, Monday, 29th September, at Rockingham in Northamptonshire on his return to the UK from Portugal this evening.

"I can't wait to test the F3 car tomorrow", said Dean, "I'm sure we'll get up to speed pretty quickly but I do need to spend some time learning the track in the morning as, even though I've been to Rockingham before, we'll be using a layout I've never run on.

"I'm really looking forward to the F3 race at Donington in a couple of weeks. My main aim is to obviously do as well as possible but I would love to finish on the podium on my Formula 3 debut. Obviously I'd like to fight for the win if possible."

He added: "I'd like to move up to Formula 3 next year. We did originally want to make the step up this season so we'll see how things go at Rockingham, see how competitive we are and then hopefully have a good run at Donington as a springboard for 2009."

-credit: deansmithracing.com

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About this article
Series Formula Renault
Drivers Dean Smith , Roberto Merhi , Valtteri Bottas