THE weekend’s MINI Challenge racing at Rockingham was a case of what might have been for Crewe’s Rob Smith.
Despite getting off to flying starts in both races held over the weekend, which made up the third and fourth rounds of the championship, contact from rivals and major tyre wear issues hampered the 24-year-old.
Smith could only finish 11th in the first race and 12th in his second outing.
After the second race, he admitted he came to the Northamptonshire circuit expecting more.
He currently sits seventh in the driver’s standings but says he would be leading the way if his luck had been better.
“It’s not been the weekend we wanted, or expected. Everything has just been against us.” he said.
“We had a massive problem with tyres all weekend. We spent ages on Friday putting them through a heat cycle to try and make them more durable and get a leg-up on the competition, but it just didn’t happen for us.
“If I hadn’t been blocked in qualifying we would’ve started on the front row for race one. Instead, we ended up 10th fastest.
“Everything that’s within our control – the pace of the car and my driving – we’re doing well.
“From that perspective, we should be leading the championship really but we haven’t had any luck here and that’s been the difference.”
In the first race, Smith had climbed to sixth and was looking to go higher when contact from behind forced him off the track.
He recovered to move back up into sixth, but grip issues started to take hold.
Another good start in the second race moved him up as high as fourth at one point before contact from Mark Wakefield again sent him off track.
He resumed in 10th and gained two places on his next lap before tyre wear struck again.
Smith has a four-week break before the next round at Snetterton on May 27.