Aron Taylor-Smith enjoyed a starring role for CarStore Power Maxed Racing at Snetterton last month [20-21 May], scoring a double points finish for the team in the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship.
The Irishman made the long trip over to the 2.97-mile Norfolk venue buoyed by the return trackside of wife Lauren and their newborn daughter, Oaklie, and aiming to bounce back after a difficult weekend at Brands Hatch a fortnight prior.
From the get-go, the team demonstrated plenty of pace in the Vauxhall Astra, with Taylor-Smith among the five fastest runners in practice.
The 33-year-old then did well to salvage 12th on the grid from a frustrating qualifying session, punctuated by red flag stoppages, and as the highest-placed car within the team.
In race trim, Taylor-Smith starred on Sunday in front of a capacity crowd at a sun-soaked Snetterton, as well as many more watching at home on ITV4.
From the sixth row, Taylor-Smith made the most of his soft compound tyres in the opening race to move up the field and claim the final spot inside the top ten.
New for this weekend, each car in the championship had to run one of each Goodyear tyre compound – Soft, Medium, and Hard – with steadily declining performance across the range. Now on the Mediums, Taylor-Smith put in arguably the drive of the weekend in race two.
Having made early progress off the start, the Dublin ace was quickly vulnerable to a group of cars running the softer rubber behind. What followed, however, was nothing short of a defensive masterclass, with Taylor-Smith expertly positioning the Astra on each apex to keep the group at bay.
That earned him a second points finish in a row in P12, which also kept him in the mix for the reverse grid draw, although on this occasion, fate did not fall the team’s way.
That made the finale an uphill task, and whilst battling away for position, contact from behind pitched Taylor-Smith into the barrier at Williams and, although he was able to continue under his own power, it meant limping back to the pits to retire the car early.
But, having made another step forward in car performance, the team now looks ahead with optimism to the next three rounds at Thruxton on 3-4 June.
Aron Taylor-Smith (#40) said:
“I feel we got everything we could out of the CarStore Power Maxed Racing Astra this weekend, and I’m particularly pleased with the performance in both races one and two.
“It’s always nice to be battling against the manufacturer-supported programmes, and to put on the show that we did. I particularly enjoyed race two, it was nice to be right in the thick of the action from the start to the end.
“Race three was just unfortunate contact from another driver, which put us out of the race. There’s nothing I could have done to avoid it. It was a shame because the car felt very strong, and I think we could have challenged for a top ten.
“But that is life, after reviewing the judicials, there’s nothing more I could have done. Overall, I’m very happy with our performance.
“In my opinion, we were strong from the get-go all weekend, which bodes well heading to a historically strong circuit for the Astra in Thruxton. We’ve shown our potential across all three races, and we can build on this at the next round.”