Seb MorrisSeb Morris battled extreme adversity at Thruxton Circuit in Hampshire on Sunday, 17th June, during the third event of the Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship season to secure enough points to retain a coveted top three placing in the driver standings.

Leading the title race going into the weekend after an outstanding start to his maiden campaign in single-seaters, the 16-year-old’s plan to add more podiums and wins to his 2012 tally was abruptly halted when an engine problem in qualifying set the tone for a thoroughly frustrating race meeting.

Costing the Marford driver almost 1.5 seconds compared to his key championship rivals, the distinct lack of power on the straights led to highly uncharacteristic eighth row starts for both races – rounds six and seven.

Added to that, with all track action taking place on one day, Seb’s Fortec Motorsports team faced a monumental challenge to install a new engine into his car in time for the first outing. The mechanics worked wonders though to get the Ginetta Ambassador on track with literally seconds to spare.

Very much an exercise in damage limitation, The King’s School, Chester pupil overcame set-up issues to climb through the order superbly into the top eight but insult was added to injury when he was given a 10 second penalty for an ‘out of position start’, putting him back to 10th place.

Disappointed, but with time to fully set-up the car for round seven, Seb was determined to mount a top six push at the very least and by the end of lap one alone he was on the cusp of the top 10. Very happy with the car’s handling and pace, Seb pressed on and looked good for an impressive result but at the beginning of lap two he was caught-up in a multi-car accident at Allard – wrecking his race.

“It’s been a very tough weekend and it all started with the engine problems in qualifying, it all went downhill from there really”, said Seb, “Qualifying was badly compromised and although we scored some points in race one, the car wasn’t how we wanted it. The team did an amazing job to get me out there at all though, all credit to Fortec – the guys made a fantastic effort.”

He added: “Race two was a big disappointment. We had everything sorted with the car, it felt really good and we had so much pace. I made up a lot of places on the first lap and then I was right behind three or four cars battling over eighth through the first corner on lap two. They tangled, so I went wide to avoid it, but then I got hit by one of them and that was it – race over.”

Although rightly disappointed to depart Thruxton third in the standings, Seb is looking ahead to the next two rounds with a lot of confidence and aiming to put right the misfortune experienced this weekend. “We’ll come back stronger at Croft”, he added, “Everything that went wrong this weekend was out of our control, nothing we could do at all.”

There is now a five week break from action for Protyre Formula Renault BARC with North Yorkshire’s Croft Circuit hosting rounds eight and nine of the campaign over the weekend 21st/22nd July.

Provisional 2012 Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship Driver Standings (after Rd7):
3rd Seb Morris, 151pts

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.