Dan Zelos insists he will be ‘fighting fit’ for the next rounds of the Vertu Motors MINI CHALLENGE at Brands Hatch after the former champion was caught in the dramatic incident that brought racing at Donington Park to an early end.

On the back of a challenging 202 season, the EXCELR8 driver had made the dream start to his championship assault, scoring pole position and then taking victory in race one – where he also scored the fastest race lap in MINI CHALLENGE history.

Zelos then doubled up in the second race of the weekend to cement his position as championship leader heading into race three, where he would line up on the second row of the grid.

Unfortunately for Zelos, his race would come to an early end when he was caught up in the incident that resulted in Hybrid Tune driver Sam Smith requiring a trip to hospital, with Zelos having been the driver collected by Smith when he went off at Redgate.

The DNF in the final race left Zelos third in the points but he vowed to come out fighting in round as he bids to overhaul Smith’s team-mate Will Orton in the standings.

“First and foremost, I hope Sam is ok and wish him a speedy recovery,” he said. “It was a very scary situation that – perhaps fortunately – I had no chance to anticipate. It was simply wrong place, wrong time and I was a complete passenger, and I’m incredibly grateful to the championship and to EXCELR8 for building such safe cars because it could have been so much worse.

“Overall, though, it was really good to be back and I was over-the-moon with our results. To be honest, I didn’t have big expectations – I went to Donington with a very open mind and just looking forward to some good racing and good battles – but right from pre-season testing, I felt so much more relaxed and in a really positive headspace.

“From the start of FP1 until the end of race two, it was the perfect weekend. The car felt absolutely spot-on, doing everything I wanted it to – a completely different animal to last year – and in both of the first two races, I had a little bit in reserve in case I needed it.

“We had the pace to go for another win in race three, and I honestly think we would have done. It was a shame for it to end the way it did, but at least we can count that as one of our dropped scores – even if it’s a bit frustrating to have to play one of those ‘jokers’ so early in the season.

“Fortunately, I got away with just a few cuts and bruises, so I’ll be back fighting fit at Brands Hatch where we’ll try to do it all over again!”