Josh WebsterJosh Webster delivered a star performance on his Formula Renault UK debut at Snetterton in Norfolk over the weekend, 5th/6th November – the 17-year-old series rookie surprising the established order by claiming his maiden category podium during the opening event of the 2011 ‘Finals Series’.

Scoring consistently well during Saturday’s opening two rounds with seventh and fifth place finishes, the Stowmarket driver improved yet further on Sunday to claim fourth position in round three before a sensational second place finish in round four delivered a richly deserved rostrum and third overall in the championship standings.

“Going into the weekend I didn’t know what to expect against such experienced and tough competition, so to get a podium is great – I’m really happy”, said Josh, “We made good progress throughout and I’m sure there’s more to come.”

Signing a deal with Mark Burdett Motorsport just a week or so prior to the start of the six-race championship, previously known as the Winter Series, the Suffolk racer joined the category for perhaps its most competitive ever campaign with over 30 drivers set to participate.

Including a wide array of experienced front-runners from Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 and Formula Renault UK, the near-capacity field served to provide an incredibly high level for Josh to measure himself against. Impressing throughout, the Formula Renault BARC Vice-Champion adapted well to the different driving style and characteristics of the UK-spec FR 2.0 car.

Qualifying 11th fastest for round one on Saturday in wet conditions, the British Racing Drivers’ Club (BRDC) Rising Star aced his first ever start in a current specification FR 2.0 car and climbed into the top eight on lap one before gaining seventh on lap four where he remained to the flag on lap 13.

Starting 10th on the grid for round two on Saturday afternoon, on a wet but drying track, another superb start hoisted Josh into the top six and following an early Safety Car period he moved into fifth on lap four. During the second half of the race, he came under intense pressure from Jordan King and Stefan Wackerbauer but repelled both.

Sunday’s action was dry and in qualifying for rounds three and four Josh posted the fifth best time. Starting on the third row, the MSA Academy teenager made another superb getaway and after challenging for fourth on the run to Riches Corner he claimed the place. Then, after a Safety Car period between laps three to six, Josh initially pushed for third before settling for fourth place.

Round four was the undoubted highlight of the weekend, not least the start where he rocketed from fifth on the grid to second place – negotiating the stalled pole position car of namesake Josh Hill. Punching in a series of consistently strong lap times, he comfortably held the runner-up spot throughout and also posted the fourth fastest lap of the race.

“We worked hard and improved more and more throughout the weekend, thanks to all the guys at Mark Burdett Motorsport for their hard work”, he added, “Thanks as well to all my sponsors, especially James Palmer of Nine Telecom and David Marsden of Admiral Managed Networks for their continued support.”

Josh now heads into the last two rounds of the Finals Series this coming Saturday, 12th November, at Rockingham in Northamptonshire just four points shy of second place in the championship.

Qualifying for rounds five and six at the Corby track is scheduled to begin at 09.30 with race one set to follow at 11.05 and race two expected to commence at 13.55. Live timing of the weekend’s action will be available online at www.tsl-timing.com

Provisional 2011 Protyre Formula Renault UK Finals Series Standings (after Rd4):
1st Oliver Rowland, 128pts; 2nd Dan Wells, 90pts; 3rd Josh Webster, 86pts

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.