Total Control Racing driver Rob Smith will head to Croft Circuit in North Yorkshire next weekend, 22nd/23rd June, with confidence rightly high after one of his most competitive outings of the Renault UK Clio Cup season last Sunday in front of a massive crowd of 40,000 spectators at Oulton Park.
In glorious sunshine at the Cheshire venue, the Telford 21-year-old’s ‘home’ track, Rob produced two excellent race performances and although a puncture in the opening encounter cost him a likely top 10 result, he took ninth position in race two – fifth in the Graduate Cup class.
Although having never raced his 2.0-litre Renault Clio Cup at Croft before, with the championship not having visited the 2.12-mile circuit last year during his debut season in the category, pre-season testing there went well for the Goodride Performance Tyres, Grouptyre and BMTR-backed driver.
While his test outing back in February was in starkly contrasting temperatures to those expected for rounds nine and 10, Loughborough University student Rob – who recently completed his final exams – is confident it will nonetheless stand him in good stead for the start of the second half of the season.
“We were quick at Croft in testing back in February, although it was snowing then!”, commented the Shropshire racer, “TCR has a good record there over the years, so if we have the right set-up on the car there’s no reason why we shouldn’t be right up there again next weekend like at Oulton.
“Croft is my kind of circuit really, it has the sort of corners I like so I’m really looking forward to it. I just want to go out there and go for good results, after a couple of rocky weekends the pressure is off where championships are concerned so now we’ll just take each race as it comes.”
Although there isn’t a member of the Grouptyre network based in the North East, Grouptyre will be using the opportunity of the Croft races to invite some key customers from the area. Scottish group member Cooper Brothers from Lanarkshire, one of the founding members of Grouptyre, will also be taking a number of Goodride customers to Croft.
“We always have fantastic support from our sponsors so I’m looking forward to racing the Clio at Croft for the first time in front of another big group of guests next weekend”, said Rob, “As we don’t visit Knockhill in the Clios, Croft is the closest track for Grouptyre’s Scottish members. We’re hoping to see plenty of them making the trip down, hopefully to celebrate some great results.”
Rob will arrive at Croft equal seventh in the Graduate Cup class standings, just 18 points shy of the top five, while in the main Renault UK Clio Cup title race he is in 13th position, only seven points outside the coveted top 10.
Following pre-event practice next Friday, 21st June, qualifying for rounds nine and 10 of the season will take place at 10.50 on Saturday, 22nd June, with the opening race of the weekend beginning at 16.15. On Sunday, 23rd June, round 10 will commence at 15.50 and will be screened live on ITV4, ITV4 HD and streamed live online at www.itv.com/btcc
Provisional 2013 Renault UK Clio Cup Driver Standings (after Rd8):
13th Rob Smith, 72pts
Provisional 2013 Renault UK Clio Cup ‘Graduate Cup’ Standings (after Rd8):
=7th Rob Smith & Ant Whorton-Eales, 112pts