Aron Smith has described Team BKR's maiden success as the 'sweetest' victory of his career after holding off Gordon Shedden and Colin Turkington to win the final British Touring Car race at Rockingham.
The Volkswagen CC driver converted his reverse grid pole into a lights-to-flag victory ahead of Shedden and Turkington but the Irishman's route to a fourth victory in the series was far from a foregone conclusion.
Having created a handy buffer, whilst Shedden and Turkington picked their way through the hard tyre runners, Smith cruelly saw his advantage evaporate following three safety car periods.
While that gave Shedden and Turkington the opportunity to pounce late in the race, Smith defiantly held his nerve to record his first win since Oulton Park 2014, also making him the 12th different victor of the season.
Since joining the brand new BKR outfit, Smith has already stepped onto the rostrum three times so far in their young tenure.
"I set the fastest lap and got a good three seconds up the road and then all of a sudden the safety car came out and took it all away. We got away again and the same thing happened again. It was just a race of attrition. I was hoping on every restart I could get the one that I wanted," Smith told Crash.net.
"The first restart was one of the best I've ever had but then Gordon [Shedden] was a bit wiser to it and kept with me to a few car lengths, which made it tricky."
Having struggled in qualifying yesterday, Smith admitted he didn't think that reaching the top-step of the podium was possible after starting the day in 21st.
"We were so dejected after qualifying so to come out and get a win is like nothing else. The other times I've won, we've always been chipping away at the front so I kind of knew it was coming," Smith continued.
"We didn't think it was possible after yesterday and that's what has made this so much sweeter than any other in the past. It's the first one for BKR and I had the first one for BMR. I like the role of being involved with a team from day one and seeing them flourish. This team will be a force to be reckoned with next year when we have some new kit."