Weekend In Hungary
British Racing Drivers’ Club (BRDC) Rising Star Dean Smith is aiming for a major turn around in fortunes when the Eurocup Formula Renault season resumes two months from now – the 20-year-old racer completing another luckless weekend yesterday, during the third event of the 2008 season in Hungary.The Wolverhampton based 20-year-old, competing in his first year of international racing with the Fortec Motorsport team, crashed out of seventh position during this morning’s sixth round of the championship at the Hungaroring with damage after being hit from behind by the Epsilon Euskadi car of Richard Campollo.Starting the race from 12th on the grid, Dean made a great getaway and through the first hairpin corner took the decision to run around the outside of the turn as his closest rivals all decided to fight over the inside line. Gaining four places in quick succession, the West Midlands ace then edged ahead into seventh ahead of Campollo on the run to the next corner but the Epsilon driver made contact with Dean’s car and the net result was a collision with the barriers for the Briton.“I must be the unluckiest guy in Eurocup Formula Renault at the minute”, said Dean, “I’m really fed up with all of the bad luck we’ve had this year so far but we’ve got to remain positive as I know we could have achieved a couple of points results this weekend, even though we didn’t have the quickest car out there.“I made a good start and got up to eighth around the outside at the first corner while everyone else went up the inside. The Epsilon car didn’t go for the next turn though and just rammed into me, shooting my car up in the air.”He continued: “I managed to jump-start the car but the impact of the landing must have dislodged the brackets that hold the entire nose cone onto the car. It all came away under the car, became trapped, and I was a passenger then and went into the barriers.”Saturday’s fifth round was similarly luckless, the 2005 Formula BMW UK Champion and 2007 Formula Renault UK Vice-Champion suffering a rear puncture on the opening lap after yet more contact from a rival. Forcing him to pit with a cut tyre having climbed into 11th place from 15th on the grid, he rejoined in 36th, and last, position but ended the race in 29th place – a great achievement in itself having emerged from the pits well over a minute shy of the car in 35th position.Producing superb pace, Dean fought back well after his enforced pitstop and he made good headway through, what initially appeared to be, an insurmountable challenge to gain even just one additional place. Impressively, with all of the problems he encountered, Dean’s best lap time of 1m 45.984 seconds (148.8km/h) was the sixth quickest of the race.Commenting on Saturday’s events, he said: “From the start I made up about four places and then at the exit of the chicane one of my rear tyres popped as it was cut by a car from behind. I didn’t even know what had happened at the time. I didn’t feel a thing and didn’t see anything but the team told me what had happened afterwards.
“I pitted at the end of the first lap to get the wheel changed. We knew we’d lost far too much time to have any impact on the race but going back out at least enabled me to judge how the car behaved over the race distance and to see how it felt. The front end was awesome but the back end wasn’t great.”Dean added: “It was really disappointing as I know we could have had a good top 10 finish at least, but our race pace wasn’t bad and I managed to set the sixth fastest lap. We need to find more speed from the car to qualify higher, the car felt very good to drive but over a lap the raw pace just isn’t there.”Clearly, with an incident-free weekend in Eurocup Formula Renault, Dean will undoubtedly be a true force to be reckoned with. There is now a lengthy eight-week break before the seventh and eighth rounds of the championship take place over the weekend 30th/31st August at the world famous Nurburgring in Germany.