CREWE racer Rob Smith’s hopes of finishing inside the MINI Challenge UK’s coveted top three took a hammer blow after a luckless weekend at Oulton Park.

A heavy crash in the first race caused irreparable damage to his car, ruling him out of the second outing on his home track.

Smith walked away unscathed from the multi-car accident and explained how his weekend came to a premature end.

“It was a really frustrating day, with Charlie [Butler-Henderson] and Mark [Wakefield] having DNFs we really could have picked up some good points on them but that’s how it goes,” Smith said.

“We’ll just have to see what we can do at Donington now, try and win and end the season on a high. That’s all we can aim for after this weekend.

“We had a bit of a downpour so gambled with wets on the rear, but when we got on track behind the Safety Car the circuit was bone dry.

“There wasn’t time to do anything else, so we decided to just stick it out and hope for the best.

“The car started getting more and more lairy and then, after the Safety Car, there was carnage at Knickerbook.

“When I arrived there were four cars stranded, I aimed for a gap but unfortunately Mark [Wakefield], who I think had been winded, rolled back into my path so I took to the grass to avoid him, the car got away and went straight into the wall and a car that was already there.

“We’ve had worse accidents than that this year, the impact wasn’t that bad, but because the car hit the Armco and then the other car which was already there it caused a lot of damage to the chassis legs when meant we couldn’t do race two.

“If we’d been on pole, as we should have been, we wouldn’t have taken that tyre gamble. It’s not been the weekend we wanted at all.”

The championship now takes a five-week break before the final round at Donington on September 23.