Ronnie Smith marked himself out as one to watch in the 2024 Vertu MINI CHALLENGE Trophy with an impressive performance in the opening race of the season at Snetterton.

Having joined the grid with Chandler Motorsport for his rookie campaign, Smith produced a strong run in qualifying to set the sixth-best time, whilst his second-fastest time would see him line up on the second row of the grid for the opening race.

Moving ahead of Alex Solley on the opening lap into the top three, Smith diced hard for position with both James Black and Jamie Keates on track as the race wore on and although he would ultimately slip behind the duo on track, fifth still marked an encouraging start to his campaign.

It also left Smith as the best rookie by far on the grid, with Joshua Wilby the next best newcomer back in 13th.

“I knew it was going to be tough because I’ve not raced these cars before,” he said. “I had to make sure I used all of the experience I’ve gained elsewhere and to come away from my first race in P5 and as top rookie is something I can’t really complain about.

“There is a lot to learn when it comes to things like when to defend and when not to defend, and being towards the front of the field was great for me.

“I now know more about where to place the car and things like that, and hopefully we can stay near the front over the rest of the weekend and then carry it into the remainder of the season.”