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Smiley has podium success in the latest round of BTCC of at Donington

Smiley has podium success in the latest round of BTCC of at Donington

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Following BTC Norlin Racing’s best qualifying performance on Saturday at Donington Park, the pressure was on to secure more great results for the team, with Chris Smiley starting P2 on the grid. With both cars running the hard tyre option for race one, and Smiley the first on the grid running the option compound.

Race One:

It was always going to be a tough race, with the #14 BTC Norlin Racing Honda Civic working to minimise the damage that running the hard compound tyres would have. Chris Smiley fought hard to hold onto his P2 start, leading around the first corner, before losing out on the entrance to Craner Curves. As the impact of the hard tyre option developed, it became tough for Smiley to hold off the charging field. Chris and brought home the Honda Civic Type R in P7. Whilst disappointing, attention turned immediately to race two. 

Race Two:

Starting P7, Chris Smiley was back on the standard compound tyres. Unfortunately, on the way to the grid.

Smiley got the second race off to a flying start, getting himself into P2 by the second lap and took the lead of the race in lap 9. However, a charging Tom Ingram resulted in some exciting racing, before Smiley set about keeping ahead of Dan Cammish and Jack Goff. Smiley secured his first podium finish in the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, finishing round five in P2.

I knew we would be strong here and I was the most confident I’d ever felt coming into the weekend, but I honestly never expected to finish as high as second,” said Smiley. “I am focusing on the next race now, and hope that I can achieve a top five finish to round off the weekend.”


Race Three:

Smiley started in P8 as a result of Rory Butcher being drawn for pole for the reverse grid race, the final race of the day was always going to be a busy one!

The hard tyre option had played a critical part of everyone’s races at Donington, and race three was no different. Smiley had his sights on those ahead of him on the hard tyre, and worked his way up the grid.

Chris progressed to P6 in the first lap, and buoyed from his first podium in the series in race two, soon manoeuvred himself into 4th. Unfortunately, a racing incident with Dan Cammish ended Smiley’s race with damage to the car.

BTC Norlin Racing’s weekend was the perfect example of the highs and lows that the world of motorsport can throw at you. However, the team had their best qualifying and race results since founded in 2017 and showed clearly that their intentions are at the sharp end of the grid.

Chris Smiley had a real rollercoaster of a day, achieving his best BTCC finish following his best qualifying performance on Saturday. He was left a little disappointed after retiring from race three, but will bounce back and be ready for Thruxton in just under three weeks.

“…It’s been a good day at Donington Park!” said Smiley. “I got my first podium in race two by finishing second. Running the hard tyre in race one was survival but I had a respectable finish in P7. In race three, I had a little bit of contact at Craner Curve which cost me what was potentially another podium on the cards. But all in all it was a very positive weekend and there’s no other feeling in the world like standing on that podium. A big thanks to the team at BTC Norlin Racing and all our fantastic sponsors who without them this could not be possible.”

For sure the biggest smile in the paddock when Smiley took the chequered flag in race two in second position, belonged to Team Boss, Bert Taylor. Taylor and Smiley have worked together for a number of years, and the results meant a lot to them both.

“The whole weekend was meteoric” said Taylor. “It has been tough at times, with the oil situation in race two for James and Chris’ incident in race three, but overall, we have shown that we can do this.

“Qualifying on Saturday really set out our stall in the BTCC. It showed that despite being a small team, that we have huge ambitions and potential. The results mean a lot to the team, and I am proud of everyone who has helped get us to this point. We have a great team of people around us, and are supported by a great selection of sponsors, to whom we are infinitely grateful for their support. Bring on Thruxton in a few weeks!”


Write up and images provided by BTC Norlin Racing