A MINI driver has picked up his first victory – after a “rollercoaster” last couple of miles.

Ryan Smith ‘took’ the chequered flag by just 0.012 of a second from rival Daniel Patterson at Knockhill.

However, marshals never waved the black and white flag as the duo battled it out across the finish line.

Instead, Smith and Patterson continued to duke it out for the top spot on the podium on what they thought was the last lap.

They swapped first and second place before Smith went off the circuit with just a couple of corners to go and watched his car catch fire.

He said: “There was a wee bit of confusion with the chequered flag.

“I didn’t think it was finished because they didn’t wave the flag.

“I had a big hit, damage to the car and it was set on fire – it was a bit dramatic.

“It was quite a rollercoaster!

“The marshal had the flag in hand but was not waving it so I assumed it was the last lap starting.

“Daniel got past me and I got past him and the next thing was I was spinning off the track.

“My first thought was to get out of the car and you can see on the livestream that I had a bit of a tantrum thinking I had thrown away my first win with three corners to go.

“The marshal then told me that I had won the race.

“It was a mix of being really happy at winning the race and gutted that the car had been on fire.”

Smith, of West Barns, is competing in the Scottish Mini Cooper Cup for the first time, having previously raced Citroen C1s.

The change in class has brought about challenges, with the Minis typically up to 20mph quicker.

Sitting seventh in the overall standings, the result at Knockhill was also the former Dunbar Grammar School pupil’s first podium in the Scottish Mini Cooper Cup after a previous best of fifth.

East Lothian Courier: Ryan Smith had an eventful first round in the Scottish Mini Cooper Cup at KnockhillRyan Smith had an eventful first round in the Scottish Mini Cooper Cup at Knockhill

He said: “The first aim was to get into the top five and we did that quite quickly.

“Then it was to get onto the podium and I did not manage that until I won the race.

“It was good to get it done in the first half of the season.

“We are halfway through now and hopefully we can challenge for some more podiums in the second half of the season.

“It is a really good confidence-booster going forward.”

Five of the six meetings in the championships take place at the Fife circuit, with the remaining event taking place at Cadwell Park in Lincolnshire next month.

Smith will be boosted not only by a maiden victory in the Mini but also success in the Citroen C1.

He teamed up with Finlay Brunton to take the chequered flag in the Scottish C1 Cup endurance race.

The county driver took the opening stint before handing over to Brunton, who guided the car home to victory.

Smith told Courier Sport there was a different mindset when it came to the endurance race.

He said: “You are more focused on being consistent and keeping it clean.

“There were two drivers in front of me and from the get-go they were running quick and dropping wheels off the track and into the gravel.”