Josh Webster - Rd5 Oulton Park WinnerJosh Webster delivered an outstanding performance on his first ever competitive appearance at the challenging Oulton Park Island Circuit in Cheshire on Saturday, 28th May – the teenage star taking his second win of the 2011 Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship and, with it, the series lead.

By far the best weekend of the season so far for the 17-year-old, Stowmarket-based Josh remained fantastically well composed despite red flag stoppages in both rounds five and six to claim victory in the opening encounter, along with the fastest lap, and a strong second place in race two.

With the midway point in the championship now reached, the Nine Telecom Group, Admiral Group, Integra ICT, Sunwise, Melbek Technology, Everyone Active and Flying Saucer-supported driver is 19 points clear at the top of the standings for his Fortec Motorsport team.

“It’s been an amazing weekend, I’m so happy to be leading the championship”, said the Suffolk ace, “The team has done a fantastic job, the car has been absolutely awesome, and to take a win, second place and fastest lap in the first race too – well, it couldn’t have been much better. I’m really happy.”

Arriving at Oulton Park some 17 points adrift of the championship lead, Josh aimed to close the gap as much as possible but little could he have expected the turn-around he achieved – especially with the incident-packed nature of the two races.

In qualifying, the MSA Academy driver just missed out on pole position for round five by 0.1 seconds but importantly secured a front-row starting slot for both races thanks to his customary consistency and sparkling pace.

Making a sensational start to round five to immediately grab the lead, Josh looked well placed to control the action from the front but on lap three the Safety Car was deployed due to an incident at the hairpin. Soon after, the race was stopped and a re-run over a planned distance of seven laps was declared by officials.

Prior to the re-start, a few minutes of rainfall led to the track surface being particularly tricky but Josh handled the situation tremendously. Getting a phenomenal start, he was instantly able to find the grip and determine how hard to push and by the end of lap one held a superb two second lead.

Unchallenged at the front, he led by 2.6 seconds into lap four but due to another incident – this time at Lakeside – the race was red flagged soon after and a result declared from the order at the end of lap three. Josh therefore claimed his second victory of the season and became the first driver in 2011 to secure more than a single win. He also took two bonus points for the fastest race lap.

Moving him to within just one point of the championship lead, Josh had his sights set on more silverware for round six and at the start he managed to take the lead from second on the grid once again before opening up a one second advantage over the first 2.2-miles of racing. As in race one though, red flags were shown due to a multi-car tangle and so the action was annulled on lap four.

After a short break, round six re-started and this time Josh was just shaded into the first corner by category mainstay Kourosh Khani. He remained in close company throughout though and took the chequered flag a mere 0.9 seconds away from another win, in turn keeping experienced Formula Renault racer Dino Zamparelli at bay to surge to the top of the driver standings.

“It was quite difficult at the front in the first race, half the track was wet and half was dry, and with nobody ahead to help judge braking distances or turning points it was tricky”, said Josh, “The car has been immense this weekend though, the guys at Fortec have done an awesome job.”

Josh now has eight long weeks to wait for the start of the second half of the Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship with rounds seven and eight of the 2011 season set to take place at Croft Circuit in North Yorkshire on 23rd/24th July.

Provisional 2011 Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship Standings (after Rd6):
1st Josh Webster, 144pts; 2nd Archie Hamilton, 125pts; 3rd Kieran Vernon, 123pts

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.