Smalley denied at Donington despite double Pole Position
29 April 2018
Adam Smalley was unable to convert a double pole position in qualifying into victory over the course of Round 2 of the Ginetta Junior Championship – due to a raft of contact preventing him from capitalising on his raw pace.
Donington Park hosted round 2 and Races 3-5 of the 2018 Ginetta Junior Championship.
Elite Motorsport driver Adam Smalley got off to the best possible start, taking pole position in qualifying – alongside his second-best lap being once again good enough for pole position for Races 1 and 2 of the weekend.
Smalley proved dominant in the wet conditions, setting his fastest time 0.5s quicker than the nearest rival.
Race one saw Smalley jumped at the start by Louis Foster, before regaining the lead a lap later. It became a three-way fight for the lead in the early laps, with Smalley, Foster and Luke Browning.
Foster took the lead on lap 5, which saw Smalley pushed down to 5th after being forced off the circuit – costing him 4.5s in the process.
Smalley recovered to 4th position at the flag despite this setback, just one place off a podium finish.
The second race of the weekend saw Smalley in 2nd position after the opening sequence of corners, hot on the heels of Browning for the race lead. Smalley remained within 0.5s of his rival chasing him hard for the lead of the race through the early and mid-stages of the race.
Browning defended hard, which slowed the pair down into the chasing pack, headed by Foster.
Smalley had to defend from Foster, which allowed Browning the break to move ahead in the lead and into a clear victory.
Smalley crossed the line to finish 2nd, grabbing a place on the podium after a solid defensive drive in the closing stages.
Race three and the final race of the weekend saw Smalley hit the front and lead the four-car battle for the lead during the opening exchanges. Despite being challenged hard by his teammate Foster, Smalley resisted and held onto the lead as the pack headed onto lap 5 of the ten-lap race.
As they came through the ‘Craner Curves’, Smalley defended his line going up towards the ‘Old Harpin’ Corner, where he was tagged on his rear left – spinning Smalley out and into the gravel trap, ending his race.
The setback meant Smalley registered his first non-finish of the season, leaving him 4th overall in the Championship Standings on 120 points, but still well and truly in the hunt for the title – after being so far unbeatable in qualifying.
Smalley will be keen to bounce back after his misfortune at Donington Park, with the next race of the championship at the high speed Thruxton Circuit in Hampshire, on the 19-20 May.