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Smiley and Deegan aiming to put lessons learnt into practice at Rockingham

Chris Smiley and Shayne Deegan are both targeting improved results in the Renault UK Clio Cup at Rockingham this weekend after making their debuts last time out in Snetterton’s rounds.
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Former British Touring Car racer Smiley joined the likes of title protagonist Ant Whorton-Eales in the JamSport tam’s line-up at Snetterton where he took eighth and seventh places finishes in the two races there. That was after qualifying sixth and fourth fastest on the two grids.

Smiley commented: “I’ve never raced at Rockingham but I want to be on the podium this weekend.

“Snetterton was a case of learning how the tyres work over a race distance plus of course you’re racing against people you’ve never raced against before, some who’ve already done a lot of miles in these cars – it takes a bit of time to get a feel for a new environment.

“But I think we can be in with a chance of a top three at Rockingham. We’re chasing tenths of a second, not full seconds, and aren’t a million miles away.”

For Mini Miglia series leader Deegan, much of Snetterton was spent adapting to the UK Clio Cup car’s extra power as well as its technically-advanced steering wheel-mounted six-speed paddle gear shift. Sixteenth and 18th in qualifying became 15th and 17th in the two races in his Team Cooksport-run machine.

Deegan said: “I want at least one top-ten finish at Rockingham. I actually ran inside the top ten briefly at Snetterton but came off second best in a clash with someone else which put me back.

“There was a lot to learn – particularly the technicalities of the car and I had to adapt my driving style quite a bit – but we’ve now bought the Cooksport car we raced there with the full season in mind for 2017.

“For Rockingham I’d like to get the car to oversteer a bit more – that’s more my style. I’ve got a bit of experience of the track too in Stock Hatches when I got a win and a second place after being punted down to 26th! So I know it’s possible to pass around there…”