SMITH SECOND IN CHAMPIONSHIP WITH SILVERSTONE PODIUM DOUBLE Black Country motor racing star Dean Smith made it eight podiums from as many races during the sixth event of the 2009 Michelin Formula Renault UK season at Silverstone Grand Prix...
SMITH SECOND IN CHAMPIONSHIP WITH SILVERSTONE PODIUM DOUBLE
Black Country motor racing star Dean Smith made it eight podiums from as many races during the sixth event of the 2009 Michelin Formula Renault UK season at Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit over the weekend, 4th/5th July, and is now up to second position overall in the championship standings.
The 21-year-old, supported by Kiddisave, Rotech, Cosatto, Britax and Dorel, didn't quite get the qualifying laps he wanted on Saturday, 4th July, and concluded the session fifth on the grid for round 11, with a time of 1m46.646 seconds (173.5km/h), and an improved fourth quickest for the round 12 grid with a lap of 1m46.762 seconds.
At the start of the opening encounter on Sunday, 5th July, the Wolverhampton racer got away well and was in third place by the time the field rounded Copse Corner for the first time. Remaining right on the tail of second placed James Calado and pole-sitter Josh Scott for the duration of the 16-lap encounter, the Manor Competition driver was happy to have continued his faultless podium streak.
On lap six, a Safety Car period was called after a couple of cars made contact at Club on the previous tour and at the re-start on lap eight Dean did come under some pressure but he stretched out an advantage of around 2.5 seconds during the latter part of the race. Ending round 11 just nine 10ths of a second shy of race winner Scott, Dean was a mere six 10ths of a second behind Calado.
Round 12, which concluded the weekend's track action, produced another fine performance from the British Racing Drivers' Club (BRDC) Rising Star as he not only finished in third position again to seal his second podium of the day, Dean also posted the fastest lap of the race with a time of 1m47.985 seconds (171.4km/h) to grab a potentially crucial two bonus points.
Although getting away fairly well, a fast-starting Jordan Oakes dived up the inside heading into Copse and on the exit of the corner he pushed Dean back to fourth position. Challenged hard during the first lap, Dean survived intact and by lap five he was a mere four 10ths of a second adrift of Oakes in third place.
At the end of lap six, Dean got excellent drive out of Luffield and Woodcote to sling-shot himself alongside Oakes on the run to Copse for the eighth time and with a very brave and determined pass, the West Midlander moved into the top three once again.
Immediately pulling away from Oakes, Dean set about catching the top two who had, by that point, already opened up a fairly substantial gap. Posting the fastest race lap on the 10th tour, Dean cut down the advantage held by Calado in second place and then went quicker still on lap 13.
Closing to within about 1.5 seconds of the lead duo a couple of laps from the finish, in the end he had to settle for third but the result, his eighth podium visit out of a possible 10 this season having missed the first two rounds of the campaign, means he is now second overall in the title race.
"I got a brilliant start to the second race but at the first corner there was a lot of dust and the car almost got away from me", explained Dean, " By the time I'd got it all sorted out, I'd dropped a couple of places. As the race went on it showed the changes we made to the car after the first race worked as I got fastest lap and caught the top two.
"Being on the podium for both races is obviously really good but I had hoped to win at least one race this weekend. Consistency like this is what we need for the championship though but, hopefully, we'll be in a position to get back to winning ways at Snetterton next time out."
The weekend's action at Silverstone was in support of the British round of the international World Series by Renault and over the course of the two-day event, a record crowd of 135,000 spectators attended the race meeting -- 50,000 on Saturday and 85,000 on Sunday.
Michelin Formula Renault UK now takes a four week break from action with rounds 13 and 14 scheduled to take place at Snetterton Circuit in Norfolk over the weekend 1st/2nd August.
Provisional 2009 Michelin Formula Renault UK Championship Standings (after Rd12): 1st Oli Webb, 279pts; 2nd Dean Smith, 260pts; 3rd Dean Stoneman, 256pts