SAM SMITH GRABS MAIDEN WIN IN 2022 FINALE
Guest entry Sam Smith enjoyed a dream end to his two round stint in the Quaife MINI CHALLENGE with victory in the final race of the season at Brands Hatch.
Smith lined up third on the grid for the reverse grid race with Ronan Pearson on pole, and the Scot was able to hold onto the lead at the start as the field headed into Paddock Hill Bend of the first time.
Smith meanwhile got away from the line well and was able to get ahead of Lewis Brown into second spot, with Brown holding position until he ran wide on the Grand Prix loop and dropped down the order.
That moved new champion Sam Weller up into third and left Mitchell in fourth when the safety car was called out to recover the car of Dan Zelos from the gravel at Paddock Hill after he suffered a spin after what seemed to be a minor touch from Joe Tanner as the pair diced for eighth.
The restart would prove to be dramatic, with Pearson suddenly slowing with a misfire as the field crossed the line, leaving the cars behind to take avoiding action and giving Mitchell the chance to suddenly blast through into the lead from Smith and Weller.
Mitchell maintained the lead until lap eighth when a mistake at Sheene saw him run wide and allowed Smith to nip through into the lead of the race.
Smith was still heading the pack when David Stirling clattered into the tyres on the exit of turn one to bring out the red flags, with the result taken at the end of lap eight – just after Smith had hit the front.
It meant the Hybrid Tune driver took victory ahead of Mitchell and Weller, who was able to keep Max Coates at bay despite the best efforts of the Graves Motorsport driver to try and find a way through to earn a place on the podium.
Jack Davidson was able to secure fifth spot for Lux Motorsport ahead of earlier winner Alex Denning, who found himself struggling with his tyres and couldn’t push to try and secure a hat-trick of wins.
Denning was however able to secure second in the standings ahead of Mitchell, who grabbed third from Pearson as a result of his DNF.
Joe Tanner rounded out his campaign with another win in the Directors Cup in seventh, with the top ten rounded out by Matthew George, Ethan Hammerton and Jason Lockwood – who battled his way through from the back of the grid.