BRITISH ACE SMITH STUNS EUROCUP FIELD AT SILVERSTONE Wolverhampton's Dean Smith produced one of the performances of his career during the first of the weekend's Eurocup Formula Renault races at Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit this afternoon, ...
BRITISH ACE SMITH STUNS EUROCUP FIELD AT SILVERSTONE
Wolverhampton's Dean Smith produced one of the performances of his career during the first of the weekend's Eurocup Formula Renault races at Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit this afternoon, Saturday, 7th June -- the British ace overtaking an unbelievable 24 cars after problems in qualifying meant he had to start from the back of the grid.
Beginning the weekend very well indeed with excellent test pace on Thursday and Friday, the 20-year-old's debut appearance on the 3.2-mile GP track, he continued his stunning form this morning by qualifying for the Superpole session and going on to record the second fastest time of 1m 45.175 seconds (175.9 km/h) to grab a front row grid slot.
Delighted to enjoy such a strong showing at his home venue, the British Racing Drivers' Club (BRDC) Rising Star was soon served with the bitterly disappointing news he would have to start both of the weekend's races from the back of the grid due to a technical issue with the rear floor on his Fortec Motorsport entered car.
The actuality of the infringement noted by race officials was a portion of rear floor on Dean's car that was just a single millimetre too high. Even though this was a handicap to his pace and competitiveness rather than a benefit, because the car was effectively outside the permitted parameters the West Midlands racer's times were all disallowed.
Fully focused in his approach to today's race, Dean set about the task in hand -- nothing short of a mountain to climb starting 42nd and last on the grid -- in typically professional style and produced a breathtaking performance. Over just 15 racing laps, he managed to climb into 18th position at the finish -- a rise through the order of 24 positions!
Speaking after the race, Dean said: "Nobody really came off the circuit during the race, apart from one or two I had to overtake every car. I just got my head down and found gaps, the Grand Prix track isn't the hardest of places to overtake at but I'm really pleased with how things went in the race.
"Our speed was very good on the exit of corners but I had quite a lot of understeer going into turns, which made things a bit tricky. Overall the car was good, we just need to make a few changes before tomorrow's race and hopefully we can finish even higher than 18th."
Gaining one position off the grid at the start of today's Eurocup Formula Renault race, by the end of lap one Dean had made his way past eight cars and on lap two he broke into the top 30 as he carved his way through the huge train of cars ahead.
Into lap eight, the 2005 Formula BMW UK Champion and 2007 Formula Renault UK Vice-Champion had made his way into 22nd place but his progress didn't cease. Running in 21st position as the race entered its 10th tour, Dean closed on the tail of Fortec team-mate Daniel McKenzie -- who had started in 16th position -- and overtook him into lap 11.
Claiming two further places before the finish, Dean's climb through the order was simply awe-inspiring and a reminder of just what might have been had he started from the front row of the grid as his qualifying pace deserved and warranted.
"Who knows what we could have done if we had started on the front row as we should have?", he added, "Rules are rules though, we've got no complaints and we just need to go out and show what we can do again tomorrow. It's disappointing not to be in the points but I really enjoyed the race today, hopefully we can finish even higher tomorrow."
Although starting the weekend's second encounter from 42nd and last on the grid once again due to the aforementioned technical issue, Dean is confident of an even better performance. The fourth race of the 2008 Eurocup Formula Renault season will start at approximately 11.25 tomorrow, Sunday, 8th June, at Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit.
With approximately 40,000 spectators having travelled to the Northamptonshire venue today to witness the opening day of the World Series by Renault festival, as many as 100,000 more are expected to attend tomorrow.