Scorching Weekend at Snetterton for Taylor-Smith with Seasons Best Qualifying!
The British Touring Championship took centre stage at a scorching Snetterton with another action packed weekend that saw Taylor-Smith rack up his best qualifying result of the season to date while battling temperatures in excessive of thirty degrees over the course of the weekend.
The Irish ace was confident heading into the longest circuit on the BTCC calendar as the team began to unlock some of the CUPRA’s one lap pace which was shown by Taylor-Smith topping the time sheets at the last race weekend. The race weekend started off in it’s unusual fashion where drivers get to complete two forty-minute practise sessions that allow them to acclimate to the scorching temperatures and also fine tune their machinery ahead of the all important qualifying session. The CUPRA has been renowned for it’s incredible race pace as demonstrated by Taylor-Smith carving his way through the pack during previous race days but one key area of focus is the cars ‘one lap’ pace in which the team have been focusing on since the mid season break. A change of engineering personal paid dividends at Knockhill when Taylor-Smith was fastest in practise and this form hoped to be a marker for what is to come over the second half of the season.
Taylor-Smith commented: “The CUPRA has to be one of the best BTCC chassis’ that I have driven in race trim and we switched focus at the half way point to try and extract more qualifying pace from the chassis. We have a fresh perspective on how the chassis should be engineered and straight away at Knockhill it came alive. I think we can continue this form for the rest of the season and I’m excited to see what we can achieve.”
However, bad luck struck Taylor-Smith before free practise even began after a problem was discovered with the new M-Sport engine that was fitted prior to the race weekend. The discovery of a late oil leak meant that Taylor-Smith had to sit out free practise one and the majority of free practise two as his team carried out vital repair to car 40.
Taylor-Smith commented: “We have changed a lot on the chassis ahead of this weekend based off what we learnt at Knockhill and having to miss vital time in free practise does put us on the back foot but that is life. The car crew are doing absolutely everything in their power to put these problems behind us but unfortunately we go into qualifying somewhat blind as to what to expect from the chassis.
Despite these issues, Taylor-Smith was to go on to achieve his best qualifying of the season, which once again proves that the progress has continued on the Cupra. A lap of the three-mile circuit at Snetterton is known for being one of the most demanding on a chassis with both high and low speed sectors pushing a chassis like no other circuit. Given the limited running throughout the day, Taylor-Smith was still able to record a lap time within 0.3 of a second of the top ten which saw him line up in an incredible 16th position for race one. But most importantly and to the teams delight; record his best qualifying result of the 2022 season to date.