Smith storms to Silverstone win Pole-sitter Adam Smith commanded the first Visma Software Formula Palmer Audi Championship race of the year as the rookie stormed to victory around Silverstone's National circuit. Smith controlled the 22-lap...
Smith storms to Silverstone win
Pole-sitter Adam Smith commanded the first Visma Software Formula Palmer Audi Championship race of the year as the rookie stormed to victory around Silverstone's National circuit. Smith controlled the 22-lap race from the very start to then face race-long pressure from Ryan Lewis who took the runner up spot, crossing the line two and a half seconds behind the FPA newcomer. Howard Spooner joined the young guns on the podium in third place to boost the start his championship challenge.
A flying start off the line helped the 21-year-old Smith in the No.5 car to take the lead into Copse as the lights went green. Despite constant attention from Ryan Lewis it was Smith who led the field as they crossed the line at the end of the first lap, chased not only by the Building Environmental Services driver but by Stephen Young in third.
While the top three all flew off the line it was a different story for Stuart Prior who had qualified fourth but failed to stay in the top ten as the 22 car field completed the first lap. Ben Lewis, feeling under the weather all weekend, was up to sixth on the opening lap, chasing Chris Hyman and Howard Spooner, the Vodka Kick driver leaping up the grid from seventh to fourth. T-Car graduate Jonathan Kennard lost track position at the start from his fine sixth place qualifying position while fellow rookie Ryan Hooker jumped two places from ninth on the first tour.
Ben Lewis pitted on the fourth lap with a broken front wing, a result of his running wide at Becketts with the trained pilot eventually retiring from the race following yet another pit-stop on lap six. Jonathan Kennard had the bit firmly between his teeth as he fought his way back up to sixth by lap four following his poor start, passing Paul Warren for position. By the start of lap six Adam Smith had squeezed out a gap of 1.24 seconds between himself and Ryan Lewis in second and the duelling pair were starting to put some distance between themselves and Stephen Young in third. Young's challenge was all too brief as the No.3 Vodka Kick driver went off at Brooklands, beaching his car in the process and bringing out the yellow flags on that corner.
Further down the field there were some drivers eager to improve their positions, not least British GT driver Adam Sharpe. Having qualified a disappointing 17th Adam valiantly fought his way up to 11th place by lap eighth. American driver Emmanuel Crouvisier, racing at Silverstone for the first time in his career, was running comfortably in the top ten in ninth place while another of this year's FPA rookie's, Gary Eastwood was holding on to his start place of 13th.
Back at the front Adam Smith and Ryan Lewis were pulling away from the rest of the field, the gap to a lonely Howard Spooner in third at mid-distance was just over four seconds. Lap 12 saw Adam Smith capturing the fastest lap of both the race and the weekend with a time of 55.78 seconds on the 1.6-mile National circuit. This time also helped Adam to gain 2.271 seconds over Ryan Lewis and keep the second place racer at bay.
The second half of the top ten were enjoying some lively battles with Stuart Prior and Emmanuel Crouvisier passing Paul Warren and Jonathan Kennard promoting himself up to fifth. Warren re-passed Crouvisier on lap 14 and eventually finished in seventh. Philip Shearer on lap 15 became the first driver of the year to be lapped, the American moving aside to let Adam Smith through.
As Smith and Lewis continued their charge at the front, Howard Spooner in third began to experience a little race pressure as Chris Hyman in the No.21 Serco car harried in fourth place. Just behind them, the rookies were on a mission as Kennard and Ryan Hooker began to narrow the gap in fifth and sixth respectively. Terry White was battling for a top ten finish as he passed Adam Sharpe for 11th place on lap 17 with Philip Shearer pitting and retiring on the same lap.
By the start of the final lap Smith had everything in control and duly went on to score a debut win to compliment his two pole positions from earlier in the weekend. Commenting after the race he proclaimed he still had 18 seconds of overboost left and knew he would have the measure of Ryan Lewis in the closing stages. Ryan Lewis took a fine second having been Smith's only challenger in the race with Howard Spooner keeping the charging Chris Hyman off his rear-wing to finish third.
Round 2 later this afternoon sees Smith on pole once again and looking to complete a brace of victories on his Visma Software Formula Palmer Audi Championship debut.