MOTORSPORT: Points on the radar for Carrick driver Smiley

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Carrickfergus tin-top racer Chris Smiley says points are his only aim as the British Touring Car series rolls to Oulton Park this weekend.

The Team Hard driver has endured a difficult start to his debut season after suffering some hard luck.

Speaking about the importance of a strong Saturday practice, the 24-year-old said: “It is key as a rookie in the championship. Track knowledge and experience is paramount when racing against the best touring car drivers!”

“At the minute I am just worried about my own performance,” responded Smiley when asked about what he plans to do to progress: “I hope to be at the right end and hitting the top then we will be worrying about the other cars around us!”

Last time out at Thruxton, Smiley was pleased with his performance after recovering from a torrid Saturday, when problems blighted his Toyota Avensis: “I don’t think I could have done any more in the circumstances. It was a very tough weekend at a track I had never been to before.

“Starting 32nd in race one and getting to 16th in the final race of the day despite us treating it like a test session was extremely positive. Obviously, it is not ideally where we would like to be but we are making good progress.”

The former Mini Champion is optimistic Oulton Park will be the place where his season turns around. “I love Oulton Park,” he said. “It is a real drivers’ track with no time to rest. You are always busy with the changing gradient and some of the toughest corners anywhere in the UK!”

Despite the pointless start, Smiley added: “It is just a dream come true! My team and sponsors have been so supportive and I plan to repay them and get into the mix for points.”

With confidence still high, and if his rotten Saturday luck turns, Oulton could be the weekend the talented Carrick racer breaks his points duck.