Josh WebsterAnother impressively strong outing in the Protyre Formula Renault UK ‘Finals Series’ at Rockingham in Northamptonshire on Saturday, 12th November, secured talented rookie Josh Webster third place in the championship standings – a brilliant way to cap off 2011 for the Suffolk teenager.

Off the back of a maiden Formula Renault UK podium finish a week earlier at Snetterton in Norfolk, the 17-year-old Mark Burdett Motorsport racer produced two more strong drives to see off Red Bull-backed competitor Daniil Kvyat by seven points. Ending the series as the best placed newcomer, Josh defeated some of Britain and Europe’s most highly touted aspiring Formula One drivers.

Added to his Vice-Champion status from the Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship this year, the top three finish in the Finals Series marks Josh out as a true contender for front-running honours in the main Formula Renault UK Championship next season.

“It’s really good getting third in the points, I’m so happy we managed to achieve it against such tough and experienced competition with just a few days in the car”, said the Stowmarket ace, “The field in the Finals Series this year has been unbelievably strong, especially with the guys who came over from Europe, but we did a great job.

“Massive thanks to Mark Burdett, Andy, Robbie and Jack at the team for all their hard work. As always, a huge thank you as well to my sponsors, especially James Palmer of Nine Telecom and Graham and David of Admiral Managed Networks.”

Having topped the times in the third of the official test sessions on Friday, 11th November, Josh and the team had high hopes for Saturday’s action but qualifying brought fresh challenges in the way of foggy conditions and a damp circuit.

Making a great start to the opening encounter and producing a brave first lap, Josh gained five places to move into fifth but following a three lap Safety Car period he made a small mistake under braking, running too deep into Deene Hairpin, and lost several places in the process. Rejoining in 10th position, he swiftly worked his way back into ninth where he remained to the flag.

Holding fourth place in the championship standings after round five, a couple of points behind Kvyat, Josh faced a tough final outing but delivered superbly. Starting seventh on the grid, out of 29 competitors, he ended lap one in sixth place and after a brief Safety Car period produced a fantastic cut-back at Deene Hairpin to take fifth.

Through two additional Safety Car interludes in the dry 25-minute encounter, Josh maintained terrific composure and challenged hard for fourth place to the conclusion. He almost made it with a superbly brave attempt through the Turn One oval banking but fifth was enough, with Kvyat 10th, to secure his richly deserved top three championship finish.

Final 2011 Protyre Formula Renault UK ‘Finals Series’ Standings (after Rd6):
CHAMPION: Oliver Rowland, 190pts; 2nd Dan Wells, 133pts; 3rd Josh Webster, 118pts

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.