Sunday, 17 January 2021

Ben Smith takes top-ten in Pro Eseries Charlotte race

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Round Five of the Repco Supercars Pro Eseries was held last night as Kelly Racing’s resident simulator pilot took on the banked turns of Charlotte Speedway as well as Eau Rouge, the famous high-speed chicane at the Spa Francorchamps F1 circuit in Belgium.
 
Following the action-packed NASCAR-style races at Michigan Speedway last week, it was up to the fans to vote between Laguna Seca and Charlotte Speedway with the latter oval circuit prevailing. Kelly Racing’s sim driver Ben Smith performed well last in last week’s races, so he was thrilled to go oval track racing again in the virtual Castrol Racing Mustang for Round Five.

The night kicked off with qualifying for the first race at Charlotte and the final race at Spa. Ben did quite well and was able to make use of a tow to secure P16 at Charlotte and P10 at Spa - Ben’s best qualifying performance to date.
 
The first race saw Ben keep out of trouble and run a clean race while also picking up several positions. In the first stint Ben was able to move up to the top-ten before securing P9 in the closing stages of the race to equal his best race finish of his Pro Eseries campaign.
 
The second race saw the starting grid established by reversing the finishing order of the initial race. Ben started back in P15 but was able to capitalise on an early accident and move up to P8 as the safety car took control of the race. In the end Ben was caught up in a crash in the final laps while battling in the lead pack and ultimately finished P18.
Ben and the Castrol Mustang then made the virtual trip over to Belgium for the evening’s final sixteen lap race at Spa. Unfortunately the race did not go to plan as Ben made contact through Les Combes at turn eight on the opening lap which put him in last position. Ben was able to recover to P20 to finish the race.
 
Next week, Victoria’s Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit and Brazil’s Interlagos will host the final round of the Repco Supercars Pro Eseries.

QUOTES


Benjamin Smith, Eseries Driver #151, Kelly Racing

“Overall I’m fairly pleased with how last night’s round went, definitely could have been better if we didn’t have the two crashes but the pace has definitely improved as you could see in the first race and then in qualifying for Spa, we’re definitely quick enough to be racing around that top-ten area which is solid. We unfortunately just got taken out on both occasions by other drivers making the wrong call.”
 
“Next week we’ll be racing at Phillip Island which is a track I’ve done a lot of laps around both on the sim and in real life so we should be pretty quick there and then Interlagos we did during the draft and I actually got a podium in that race so fingers crossed we can finish the series with a strong result.”

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