Josh WebsterMSA Team UK driver Josh Webster got the penultimate race meeting of the Protyre Formula Renault BARC season off to the perfect start with victory in round 10 over the weekend, 18th/19th August, but his title aspirations were dealt a cruel blow in rounds 11 and 12 due to mechanical issues.

Claiming his fourth straight win during Saturday afternoon’s encounter with a superb lights-to-flag performance, the Stowmarket racer moved to within a single point of the series lead and opened up an eight point advantage with the championship’s ‘drop score’ ruling taken into consideration.

Expertly soaking up the pressure applied by title rival Scott Malvern, as Josh did so well at Croft four weeks prior to revitalise his championship bid, he stamped his authority on the race from two thirds distance and posted the fastest lap of the weekend with a time of 1m08.262 seconds (104.37mph).

Sunday’s action though proved incredibly frustrating for the 18-year-old as podium challenges were hampered by the aforementioned mechanical problems, as was his points total. Starting round 11 from fourth on the grid, the MGR Motorsport driver made a lightning start to instantly take third although the action was halted soon after due to an incident further back on the grid.

At the re-start, the Nine Group, Admiral Solutions & Support and Integra ICT-supported racer made another flier to shoot into third place but later in the race he began to encounter problems which were subsequently found to be due to a rapidly expiring fuel pump.

Battling hard to try and maintain his podium placing, Josh produced a sterling effort to keep the chasing pack behind and almost managed to do it – only slipping to fourth on the very last lap to just miss out on a second rostrum visit of the weekend despite his car’s woes.

With the MGR mechanics fitting a new fuel pump for the last race, round 12, hopes were rightly high of a strong result with Josh starting third on the grid. Getting away well from the line, the Suffolk racer was blocked from attempting a move up the inside into Redgate but that was the least of his concerns shortly after when it became apparent his car still had a performance issue.

Dropping to fifth, Josh really struggled for top speed on the straights and had to try and compensate by trying to carry more speed into the corners. He managed to cling on to fifth until lap seven but in the end had to settle for sixth place.

“We weren’t expecting the problem to be engine related, we thought it was just the fuel pick-up issue”, explained Josh, “Obviously, the weekend overall hasn’t gone to plan and in the last race it was like I was driving a 1.6 and everyone else was in a two-litre. On every straight I was getting passed left, right and centre, we were losing a good 10 or 15 km/h.

“The weekend started really well, we looked set to be top three in every race and winning the first one got things going in the right direction, I was really happy with our performance in that one. It’s not good for the championship we’ve had two less strong results but we need to stay positive and come back fighting at Silverstone where anything can happen.”

There are now seven weeks to wait until the final two rounds of the Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship, which will take place at Silverstone National Circuit in Northamptonshire over the weekend 6th/7th October in support of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship.

Provisional 2012 Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship Driver Standings (after Rd12):
1st Scott Malvern, 324pts; 2nd Josh Webster, 301pts

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.