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New car pays dividends in Smith's best weekend
1:05pm Friday 25th May 2012 in Sport
BRADLEY Smith had his best weekend so far in this year’s Radical Cup campaign with two poles, two race wins and a brace of fastest laps.
The Ramsden Bellhouse racer took delivery of an SR3 new car ahead of the third round at Silverstone and it paid immediate dividends.
And despite the Mectech Motorsport driver’s dominance, team boss Mike Smith reckons there is more to come from the car.
“Bradley was quicker at Donington in the last round but the perception is the new car is quicker,” Smith said. “We did not have too much time to play with it, but it seems to have more grip.
“And we feel we have some more to come from it. Our performance at Silverstone was encouraging and, overall, we are very happy with the weekend.”
The Doddinghurst-based team spent two sessions shaking down the car and scrubbing a new set of slicks for race day.
Smith’s qualifying laps were quick and consistent, with his 55.350 seconds time securing pole for the first race and a 55.456 sufficient for the top spot in the second.
Both times were nearly half a second quicker than championship leader Matt Bell, who qualified second for both races in the 27-car grid.
Smith made a great start and avoided a four-car crash on the starting line, which included Bell.
The race was stopped to allow the damaged cars to be cleared and Smith made a good start before opening a two-second gap on the field after lap one.
He continued to pull away and finished nearly 30 seconds clear of his nearest rival and set a new lap record of 55.239.
Three of the cars damaged in the first race failed to make the grid for the second, but too much wheel spin meant Smith dropped to second behind Mark Abbott.
He regained the lead on the opening lap and romped home to finish 26 seconds clear of the field, setting another lap record of 55.239.
“It was my first pole, a brand new car and I just need some luck,” said Smith. “I got a good start in the first race and I just pushed hard, but was cautious of the backmarkers.
“I managed to get a good tow off Abbott down the straight. The race was slightly harder than the first as I caught backmarkers earlier.”
But he was delighted to have secured his maiden Radical wins.