MINI Challenge UK race winner Rob Smith is aiming to build on the fantastic maiden victory he achieved last month at Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit when the championship resumes at Brands Hatch in Kent next weekend, 13th/14th September, for the final three races of 2014.Driving for Excelr8 Motorsport with key backing from tyre giant Pirelli, the Telford racer heads into the final event of the campaign – his third outing in the category this year – rightly brimming with confidence and aiming to mix it at the sharp end again at the wheel of his 220bhp JCW Class MINI.“Silverstone was what we’ve needed for a long time, not just over the last couple of years but since we were in Formula Ford a few seasons back”, commented Rob, “It was a bit of a dry spell for a while so it’s fantastic to actually show on track what we’ve known we’re capable of achieving. The team is brilliant and the atmosphere in the awning is great, the guys can never do enough for you.”Despite finishing on the podium during the opening round of the British Touring Car Championship supporting Courier Connections Renault UK Clio Cup this year, and winning the Graduate Cup class, the season didn’t pan out the way the 22-year-old had envisaged.Nobody, however, expected the monster accident which occurred during testing at Oulton Park in June which brought an untimely end to his Clio Cup season. After recovering from the incident, but with a totally destroyed car, Rob instead chose to focus on the MINI Challenge in which he already had an agreement with Pirelli to contest three of the 2014 race meetings.After an outing at Oulton Park in the MINI in July, where he took a best finish of fifth, Loughborough University graduate Rob headed to Silverstone in August determined to do well. Qualifying fourth fastest, steering damage on the opening lap of race one led to retirement but Rob hit back in race two with seventh place – from 15th on the grid – and then claimed his superb win in race three.With knowledge of the full Grand Prix Circuit layout at Brands Hatch from his time in the Renault UK Clio Cup, the JCW Class front-runner is hoping to use that to his advantage a week from now and sign-off his motorsport season on a real high.“With the experience I’ve got of the GP circuit from racing in Clios, I’m looking forward to a strong weekend and I think the track will really suit the MINI – I know Excelr8 will give me a great car so it’s up to me to make the most of it”, added Rob.“With a lot to fight for in the championship between the top few guys, some will probably be trying a bit too hard and hopefully I can take advantage of that. I’m really enjoying being back in such a competitive championship, I can’t wait for Brands Hatch!”
MINI Challenge UK Race one of the weekend will take place at 14.20 on Sunday, 14th September, race two will start at 12.00 with the final encounter getting underway at 17.45.