Rotor arm failure stops Smith charge in opening Knockhill race

Graham Brunton Racing’s guest entrant Josh Smith suffered a rotor arm failure before the start of the opening Scottish FF1600 race which led to his early retirement.

The Cumbria driver, who has raced regularly in the Avon Tyres BRSCC National FF1600 with Oldfield Motorsport this season, had qualified an impressive third on the grid.

Smith made a good initial launch off the line as the lights went out but was quickly swamped by the fast-starting Sebastian Melrose and Matt Chisholm. He eventually fell to the back of the field before pulling into the pits to retire.

“The rotor arm failed, in the distributor. I noticed it when I was doing the tyre warm-up,” Smith told FF1600website.

“Normally the car is lively when you put your foot down and it’s got a bit of punch. But when I was out there, it was just flat and lazy.

“I nearly stalled off the line. I had a high RPM but when I lifted the clutch it nearly died on me. It just wasn’t reaching any RPM so I pulled it into the pits.”

This weekend is Smith’s first in a Ray, having won last year’s BRSCC Northern FF1600 championship.

The former British F4 driver started his title-winning campaign last year in a Firman before switching to an Oldfield-prepared Van Diemen, which he drives in the National championship this year.

Despite his inexperience in the new chassis, Smith is confident of securing a positive result in Sunday’s two remaining races.

“It’s an easy fix, you just put another cap on it. It’s just frustrating I’m on the back foot again,” Smith said.

“We’ll see how it goes tomorrow, hopefully we can salvage something from the weekend.”

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