Jeff Smith will start sixth for the first race of the weekend, but he believes he could have been able to qualify higher.
Honda was the favourite going into the Thruxton weekend, and Smith was running well in qualifying. The early sectors of his flying lap were an improvement on those from testing, but a mistake at the chicane undid all the hard work.
“The speed was in the car,” Smith told Overtake Motorsport. “The fastest lap, I was actually a quarter of a second up from my testing lap, which was a lap record. Coming into the chicane, I just braked a bit too soon, and just lost a load of time coming through the chicane. It was so close.”
Smith’s qualifying time was less than four tenths of a second off of the pole position time, with the top 21 drivers on the grid all covered by less than a second.
The mistake at the chicane wasn’t the end of Smith’s drama. The Eurotech driver brought out the red flag late in the session when he hit the barriers.
“I just got a bit of a bounce coming off of the kerb at turn one,” he explained. “The back stepped out. I tried to catch it all the way through. I nearly caught it and ended up back the other way and fired it off the other side of the track and into the barriers.”
The session did restart with five minutes on the clock, but Smith kept his P6. Team mate Jack Goff will start P3.
Feature image credit: Caroline Rhea