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Hodgetts and Watson-Smith clash at Brands Hatch

BTCC News | Sun 22nd August 2004

Stefan Hodgetts and Shaun Watson-Smith were both running strongly in the first race of the day at Brands Hatch, in eighth and ninth positions respectively. With both looking good for a top end grid position in race two, Watson-Smith took the inside line as the pair came out of Clearways on lap 22. As they headed along the straight, Hodgetts appeared to squeeze the South African towards the pitwall, with the Proton squirming as it put two wheels on to the grass.

Watson-Smith was left with no option but to hit the brakes hard so as to avoid a heavy impact with the concrete.

“It was probably the most dangerous moment of my career”, said Watson-Smith after the race. “It’s mind numbing. He made a mistake coming through Clearways and I had the inside line. He just came over and over and over. It was ludicrous - he was pushing me in to the wall. I just can’t believe he could be so stupid.”

Hodgetts, who retired from the race the following lap after a heavy impact with the tyre barrier, retorted by saying: “He hit me quite hard at Clearways, so I was reluctant to let him past. We were rubbing along the straight. At the start it was him hitting me, and at the end it was me hitting him. If he had made a clean move and hadn’t hit me then perhaps I wouldn’t have minded him going past so much.”

“If I was in his position, I don’t think I would have made a move like that. I would much rather have finished where he was than not finish at all. Maybe he was upset at seeing the Alfa in front of him.”

“It might have been dangerous, but he wasn’t the one who was being turned around in to the wall. It’s a shame because the car has been really quick up to that point. It was great during that race. Really the cars in front were holding me up. With the exception of the front two, I was quicker than most of them out there.”

Commenting on his retirement from the race, Hodgetts added: “It might have been related, I’m not really sure. It was a driveshaft failure. I just lost all control of the steering and went straight on in to the tyres. I don’t really know if we’re going to be able to repair in time for the next race.”

Watson-Smith finished the race in eighth position and will line up third on the grid for the second race of the day, behind Jason Plato and Colin Turkington. If Hodgetts’ Alfa Romeo can be repaired in time, he will start the race from the back of the grid.

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