BTC Racing secures double podium at Snetterton
BTC Racing fought back from a challenging qualifying session to secure a double podium in the latest rounds of the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship at Snetterton.
Qualifying saw Northern Irish racer Chris Smiley settle for the 13th quickest time, with the tight nature of the times being reflected by the fact that he was less than a tenth-of-a-second away from ninth. Bath-based team-mate Josh Cook meanwhile had the added penalty of success ballast on his car as he qualified in 19th.
The opening encounter saw Smiley lose places on the opening lap, before fighting back to 14th place by the finish to secure a points finish although Cook would be left with a 20th place finish to his name.
In race two’s opening lap, Smiley slipped back to 15th. From there however, the Northern Irish racer battled his way through the pack to take the flag in eighth place. As an additional reward, Smiley was then drawn on pole for the final race of the weekend.
Cook found himself in the heart of the midfield action, but fought his way into the points in 15th place.
Smiley would end his weekend with a strong run to third place, fighting at the sharp end throughout as he became the only driver to secure a podium finish on the hard compound.
Cook meanwhile made the most of the soft tyre with his best race of the weekend, scything his way through the field with a number of impressive overtaking moves to finish the race in second spot – giving BTC Racing a stunning double podium.
“Qualifying didn’t show where we were as I got held up in traffic,” said Smiley. “I knew we would have a quick car for race day and the balance was good. We had a few things to work on but we were strong on all three tyres and that was reflected in the results.
“I knew the hard tyre would be slower in race three but I just took a steady approach and made sure I stayed out of trouble. To be rewarded with a podium is great, especially when Josh was there too.
“I’ve had some bad luck so far this season but hopefully this weekend will be the one where that luck changes. We’ve been quick at every race but you can’t control what other drivers do. I’m looking forward to going back to Thruxton as I think we can be strong when we return.”
“Saturday was tough and the car wasn’t quite doing what we wanted,” said Cook. “We had a few issues and the balance wasn’t quite there in qualifying, and we did what we could.
“We were out of position a bit but race one was always going to be tough with the weight so we took the double hit with the tyres, which was quite demoralising as a driver because I knew we couldn’t do anything.
“We moved up in race two despite some damage to the exhaust and then on the soft tyre in race three, I just got my head down and pushed on. I knew there were guys ahead on the hard tyre so I picked them off, but I didn’t expect to get a podium.
“The team did a mega job for us to come from 13th and 18th on the grid to finish with both cars in the top three.”
“It’s ended up being a fantastic way for us to kick off the second half of the year,” said Bert Taylor, BTC Racing Team Principal. “The whole team has knuckled down to fight back from a qualifying session where circumstances went against us, and Chris and Josh have delivered the goods on race day.
“For Chris to get onto the podium on the hard tyre was fantastic, and Josh did a great job to come through the pack from where he was starting race three. We can now go to Thruxton looking to build on these results and try to fight at the front at a circuit where we know the Honda will be strong.”