Eurotech come back fighting with success at Snetterton
The Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship returned to Snetterton in Norfolk for Round six after the seven week summer break. Following the unfortunate events that heavily effected Eurotech at the previous round at Croft the team needed to bounce back.
With the injuries sustained by Jeff Smith in the Croft accident ruling him out for the remainder of the season his son Brett Smith takes over the reins of the Honda Civic Type R alongside Jack Goff. During the summer break the Eurotech engineers have worked hard to rebuild the third car (previously driven by Daniel Lloyd) for Brett to use, currently leading the MINI Challenge Championship Brett quickly adapted to the BTCC machinery during the two day tyre test at Snetterton.
Eurotech headed in to qualifying with confidence as both cars showed good pace in the free practice sessions with Jack topping the laptimes in FP2. In perfect dry qualifying conditions Jack put in an outstanding lap, half a second clear of the rest of the field to get his first BTCC pole position and the second pole position start of the season for Eurotech. Brett finished his first BTCC qualifying session in a very respectable P23 on the 31 car grid leaving the team lifted and looking forward to race day.
Race one saw the sun shining down on the 3 mile long Snetterton 300 circuit in front of a large crowd. Jack made an impressively quick start out of the pole position grid box but the rear wheel drive BMW of Colin Turkington typically managed to out drag the front wheel drive Honda and Turkington took the lead on the opening lap, Jack settled in to a comfortable second place until Turkington spun across the grass at Coram allowing Jack to take the lead, to the huge cheers in the Eurotech garage. He pulled a gap on the following pack and lead for the majority of the race and looked like he was going to take the win, however he was on the soft tyre option which had started to go off and second placed Ash Sutton was closing him down, Jack held off the more powerful Subaru for as long as he could but with two laps to go Sutton took the lead with Jack taking a podium finish in P2 and the Independents trophy. Brett had a baptism of fire for his first race suffering damage on lap one following contact with Stephen Jelley, leaving him with no option but to retire the second Honda with damage.
After his P2 finish Jack had another front row start for race two, this time it was Ash Sutton on pole who was soon gone into the distance and the rear wheel drive BMW of Andrew Jordan from row two also out dragging the Honda off the line. Jack managing to get the place back but was then hunted down by the rear wheel drive duo of Colin Turkington and Rob Collard despite Jack’s best efforts he couldn’t hold them off with Mat Jackson also forcing his way through, in a rough race Jack held also off pressure from Gordon Shedden to eventually finish in P5. Brett’s baptism of fire continued having to retire in the early laps with an unusual mechanical failure, the first non-mandated part failure the team have suffered since 2015.
The reverse grid draw for race three meant Jack started from P5, after being pushed out on the first lap elbows out typical race 3 fashion Jack was knocked back some places which he valiantly clawed back getting back up to finish in P8 rounding out a fantastic day of good results. Brett had a really strong race, starting from the back in P30 due to his previous DNF he fought his way up through the field to an incredible P14 finish scoring points on his debut round.
The strong points haul has put Eurotech 3rd in the Independent Teams Championship and 5th in the overall Teams Championship. Jack is back up to 9th in the close Drivers Championship and joint 2nd in the Independent Drivers Championship. Team Principal Jeff Smith said; ‘It has obviously been a difficult time for all of us and this weekend was the lift that we all needed, everybody has just got their heads down and got on with it, I am very proud of the whole team who have all done a great job, we are looking forward to the rest of the season with the aim being wins and more podiums which we have shown we are more than capable of achieving.’
Brett’s thoughts on his first BTCC round; "I knew that the BTCC was going to be a huge step from the Mini's but I definitely made it harder for myself than I needed to! Qualifying 23rd I was actually a little disappointed, 4 tenths separated me from a top 10 position but that just goes to show how competitive the BTCC is! Race 1's early finish was my fault 100%, I stalled at the start and wanted to make up the places that I had lost as quick as I could and was thusly a little over zealous, resulting in a mistake and caused race ending damage by hitting Stephen Jelley. Race 2 however was going much stronger, up to about P25 at the time from P31, but an extremely rare mechanical issue for Eurotech put pay to any further progress! Race 3 saw a change of fortune and a richly deserved thank you to the team as I made up for the sorry Sunday I was having! A strong start and early overtaking manoeuvres coupled with others cars seemingly driving off the circuit and out of my way I found myself in a points scoring position whilst a late challenge from Plato was the cherry on top, being able to hold Mr. Touring Car himself off was fantastic!"