Seb Morris - CroftFortec Motorsports driver Seb Morris endured a very tough outing in the Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship at Croft in North Yorkshire over the weekend, 21st/22nd July, but still managed to conclude the event third in the title race with five rounds remaining in the 2012 campaign.

Although his championship hopes were dealt a huge blow last time out at Thruxton when engine problems severely compromised his chances, the 16-year-old took another hit this weekend with contact in round eight forcing retirement and more contact in round nine costing a strong score.

“It’s been a tough weekend but I’ve learnt a lot and that’s what this year is all about”, commented the Marford youngster, “We’ve lost a lot of points, at Thruxton and now at Croft, but we know we’ve got the pace to be back winning next month at Donington. It’s disappointing but sometimes things don’t go your way and that’s what’s happened here.”

Unusually, Seb’s weekend started with a rare excursion in the 15-minute free practice on Saturday, 21st July, in which his car sustained a lot of damage after an unfortunate visit to the barriers at the Sunny In, Sunny Out sequence of corners.

Working feverishly to get the Welsh teenager’s FR 2.0 repaired in time for round eight qualifying, the Fortec mechanics did an outstanding job and the Ginetta Ambassador was able to post the fourth fastest time in the session.

His misfortune continued in a red flag affected round nine session though which ended five minutes early. Building up his pace as the run neared its conclusion, before Seb was able to push for a truly quick time qualifying was curtailed due to an incident so he had to settle for 10th on the grid.

At the start of Sunday’s first race, Seb held fourth and began to pressurise James Fletcher for third but on lap three he was edged back to fifth by championship rival Scott Malvern. Into the complex, Seb held the outside with Malvern on the inside but both were challenged by Macaulay Walsh and the resulting contact was inevitable.

Seb’s car was lifted onto two wheels and the incident led to significant damage but, even with the entire left-hand bodywork of his car missing, the MSA Academy racer attempted to continue and pocket as many points as possible. On lap seven though, he had no choice but to retire.

With the Fortec team again doing a superb job to repair his car, Seb was determined to end the weekend with a strong result in round nine and an outstanding start and opening lap enabled him to slice his way through the order into sixth from 10th on the grid.

Bottled-up behind Kieran Vernon for the majority of the race, Seb tried everything he could to carve open a clean pass but Vernon held firm – all the while compromising Seb’s pace and leaving him open to attack from the advancing Fletcher who edged ahead on lap 15. Into the last lap Seb was all over the back of Fletcher’s car but a final corner attempt didn’t pay off, instead dropping him to 11th.

“I had a mega start, made up a lot of places and had very good mid-race pace”, explained Seb, “I was challenging [Kieran] Vernon but he was defending incredibly well and I didn’t have a chance to get past. The next thing I know, [James] Fletcher was down the inside and made it through at Tower.

“On the last lap though he was slow out of the second to last corner so I went for a move up the inside into the hairpin but we had some contact. It’s a shame it ended like that, up to then it was a great race and I really enjoyed it.”

Seb will be back on track four weeks from now, over the weekend 18th/19th August, for rounds 10, 11 and 12 of the Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship season.

Provisional 2012 Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship Driver Standings (after Rd9):
3rd Seb Morris, 161pts

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.