WIN NUMBER FOUR FOR SMITH AFTER DOMINANT CROFT DRIVE Dean Smith scorched to a thoroughly dominant fourth victory of the season during round 10 of the Michelin Formula Renault UK Championship at Croft in North Yorkshire today, Sunday, 14th June,...
WIN NUMBER FOUR FOR SMITH AFTER DOMINANT CROFT DRIVE
Dean Smith scorched to a thoroughly dominant fourth victory of the season during round 10 of the Michelin Formula Renault UK Championship at Croft in North Yorkshire today, Sunday, 14th June, to close to within just 19 points of the lead in the 2009 driver standings.
Added to a very competitive second place finish in round nine on Saturday, 13th June, the hugely talented Wolverhampton racer has finished no lower than the runner-up spot in each of the last six races and now heads into the Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit event in July brimming with confidence.
"Today's win was fantastic, we pulled out a gap of about seven seconds and in all honesty over the last five laps or so I was cruising as we had plenty in hand", said the 21-year-old Manor Competition driver, "On Saturday we did have some understeer and oversteer but the team did a great job with the car and today it was phenomenal really."
In both of Saturday's qualifying sessions, Dean just missed out on each pole position by the smallest of margins -- during the round nine period he was only 0.069 seconds outside James Calado's best and in the second session he lost the chance to take pole away when forced to back off due to yellow flags being shown at Clervaux after a car had gone off the circuit.
During Saturday's ninth round, Dean maintained second place off the grid and although always within a 10th of a second or so of eventual race winner Calado's lap times the order at the front never changed with the Manor star taking his fifth podium on the trot to maintain third position in the title race.
He explained: "I tried my hardest in Saturday's race but there was nothing between my car and James' car in terms of performance. Everything was pretty much the same and we were very evenly matched. Second was a good result but if we'd have got ahead at the start I think we would have been able to keep him behind."
Round 10 produced an untouchable performance from Dean and with four wins under his belt he has actually taken more race victories already this season than he did during the entire 20-round championship in 2007 which he concluded as Vice-Champion.
Getting a good start from second on the grid, the West Midlander moved ahead of pole-sitter Calado on the run to Clervaux and never looked back as he opened up a massive lead over his pursuers in double-quick time.
Leading by more than a second into lap three, Dean stretched his advantage by another six 10ths of a second on lap four and did the same again on the fifth tour when he posted the fastest lap of the race with a time of 1m18.130 seconds -- less than a 10th of a second shy of the existing record.
Punching in some seriously quick and consistent laps, the British Racing Drivers' Club (BRDC) Rising Star led by almost seven seconds into the final lap and coasted to a tremendous win to further enhance his title credentials.
Dean added: "I'm ecstatic with my fourth win of the year and now I can't wait for Silverstone in three weeks, the Grand Prix circuit is one of my favourites for sure and I've always gone well there. It's probably my strongest track so we're really looking forward to it and confident we can be on top again."
His next Formula Renault UK race outing will come during rounds 11 and 12 of the 2009 season at Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit in Northamptonshire three weeks from now, 4th/5th July, as support to the British round of the World Series by Renault. Before then, there will be an official test outing at Norfolk's Snetterton Circuit on Wednesday, 24th June, and Thursday, 25th June.
Provisional 2009 Michelin Formula Renault UK Championship Standings (after Rd10): 1st Oli Webb, 227pts; 2nd Dean Stoneman, 212pts; 3rd Dean Smith, 208pts