Smalley storms into early championship lead at Brands Hatch
08 April 2018
Elite Motorsport driver Adam Smalley took a double pole position in qualifying, before following up with a victory and a 2nd place in a brilliant opening round of the season at Brands Hatch.
The opening round of the 2018 Ginetta Junior Championship took place at the Brands Hatch Indy Circuit on the 7-8 April. Smalley headed into the first round as one of the championship favourites – following his Ginetta Winter Series Champion status from the end of 2017.
The Total Rail Solutions and Reflex Vans backed driver, cemented his status as a serious championship threat, after taking pole position for both of the two races at the opening round – dominating the session and finishing over 2 tenths clear of his nearest rival, despite the short nature of the circuit.
Race one took place in dry conditions during Saturday. Smalley made a good start from pole position, assuming his lead at the head of the pack. He resisted the early pressure from the chasing pack, before being able to stretch his legs out front and establish a gap over his rivals.
Smalley reeled off consistent fast laps, pulling out a substantial advantage on the chasing group – eventually taking victory by 4.622s from Ruben Del Sarthe and Elite Motorsport teammate Finley Green.
Race two took place on a damp track on Sunday morning. Smalley got away with a lot of wheelspin, meaning front row rival Del Sarthe led the way coming out of Paddock Hill bend. Smalley battled with Del Sarthe and Richardson Racing’s Luke Browning for the lead over the opening laps. Browning eventually hit the front, before going wide at Graham Hill bend, allowing Smalley into the lead once again.
These three continued their duel throughout the 17-lap race in a brilliant battle that saw the advantage change lap by lap, as they dealt with lapping cars, attempted to overtake and defend all at the same time in a tense end to the race.
Smalley just missed out on a clean sweep of results, finishing 2nd behind Browning by just 0.5s at the chequered flag.
“It was nearly a perfect start to the year, double pole and a race win on Saturday was amazing. On Sunday we were unfortunate as we gambled on more of a dry setup and as we were sat on the grid to go out it rained. This put me at a disadvantage to the rest of the field as the car was harder to control in the changing conditions.
Unfortunately after taking the lead I soon approached back markers which didn’t move out the way soon enough.
This caused me to drop down the order to third. I managed to get back up to second and bring the car home. Overall it was a great start to the championship.
I can’t thank everyone at Elite Motorsport enough for giving me a front running car. None of this would have been possible without the support from my sponsors, Total Rail Solutions, Dan Morley Snapon, Reflex Vans and Madame Tussaud’s Blackpool”
After his strong showing at Brands Hatch, Smalley heads the Ginetta Junior Championship by 9 points after a near perfect weekend.
The next round of the Ginetta Junior Championship takes place at Donington Park on the 28-29 April for Rounds 3-5 of the championship.
All races will once again be shown on ITV4 alongside the British Touring Car Championship.