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It’s been an action-packed year and both the penultimate and final races of the MINI Challenge series didn’t disappoint. With Brett Smith in a comfortable position following his Oulton Park victories, viewers were expecting to see him saunter through the final round – the opposite was true, with Brett performing powerfully and confidently to take a well-deserved, controlled victory. “What an absolutely perfect way to finish the year,” said Brett. “I’m likely to move on next year, but this has been the best season of racing I’ve ever had.”
Barr held fourth place in the second race to ensure this year’s Rookie Cup honours (and second overall in the championship), but it was no mean feat. Charlie Butler-Henderson stormed ahead of both George Sutton and Max Bladon at the Melbourne Hairpin before latching on to the rear of Barr’s car. “Charlie didn’t make it easy for me!” said Barr. “I knew I was basically fighting for second in the points so I had to finish right behind Grady. That plan was working fine until Charlie arrived and I had to hold him off so I couldn’t look forward at all. Still, it’s mission accomplished for the Rookie Cup!”
Calm and collected, Grady performed admirably across the Donnington weekend. The first race was steadier than the second for Grady, “It was a bit of a lonely one really. I kept the start clean and then the cars behind me dropped back, but I couldn’t quite stay with these two up front.” Things changed on Sunday, where the second too race provided a little more heat. Reece Barr started on pole in the second race, but fell behind due to much wheelspin, allowing David Grady, who started second, to nip ahead as the pack ran into Redgate.
Rob Smith fought ‘til the end, chasing Brett in the first race and touring on to the back of Grady in the second race. “I knew I needed to get past David quickly to be able to build a gap on Brett” said Rob, commenting on the second race. “He got straight past too and I couldn’t shake him off. It was hard work, but ultimately he was quicker here.”
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