Rory Smith believes he would have retained the Champion of Brands crown without the late safety car period in the second race of the ‘away day’ Donington Park season opener.
The B-M Racing driver won the opening race after passing poleman Oliver White on the second lap, and was one corner away from victory in race two before White snatched the win from him with a dramatic move, resulting in Smith dropping to fifth.
An earlier safety car period eradicated the lead that Smith had built up while White was battling his way from fourth to second, resulting in a thrilling battle for the lead when racing resumed with two laps to go.
“I would have won,” said Smith afterwards. “I had a seven second gap, it’s a bit frustrating, but these things happen.”
Reflecting on the final corner incident, Smith added: “I went defensive down the back straight, there was the tiniest little gap on the right hand side for him to go.
“He went for it and left me nowhere to go, I lost a few places and he lost a bit of time but he managed to hold on to it. It came off worse for me, obviously.”
The safety car worked in Smith’s favour during the earlier race, however, as he passed White for the lead into McLean’s, with the safety car boards displayed just one corner later.
“I got a run out of Old Hairpin and then went around the outside of him and just as that happened the safety car meant that I was in front,” said Smith about the move that won him the first race.
Despite the frustrating end, it was strong weekend for Smith overall. In addition to his race one win at Donington, he also scored a pole and a race victory in the opening round of the BRSCC Avon Tyres Northern FF1600 Championship at Oulton Park on Saturday, and could have won both races without a bad start in the first race.