Sean Walkinshaw - Silverstone FR BARCMTECH Lite’s Sean Walkinshaw rounded off the Protyre Formula Renault BARC season with a top 12 result during the final race of the 2012 championship at Silverstone on Sunday, 7th October, after a robust and incident-packed weekend of action on the 1.64-mile National Circuit.

Showing great pace in qualifying for rounds 13 and 14, running in support of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, the Chipping Norton 18-year-old secured eighth on the grid for Sunday’s televised race with a lap of 56.600 seconds (104.33mph) placing him only 0.2 seconds shy of pole.

His chances of a similarly strong performance in the opening 15-minute qualifying period, which got underway in damp conditions, weren’t aided by a red flag period midway through and having joined in the session late, Sean ran out of laps as the track dried – having to settle for 13th on the grid for race one.

Determined for a strong climb through the order in round 13 on Saturday, 6th October, the second year racer was unfortunately shuffled back to 15th position on the opening lap but worse was to follow soon after when contact from another car wrecked the front wing on Sean’s FR. 2.0; leading to a frustrating retirement at the end of lap four.

Starting Sunday’s race from the fourth row of the grid, Sean had a good chance to try and better his season’s best eighth place from the Croft event in July and at the beginning he held on to eighth spot well but was bundled back to 10th just prior to the emergence of the Safety Car on lap three.

When racing resumed on lap seven, the Oxfordshire teenager wasn’t able to capitalise from the re-start and instead he was attacked into Copse which resulted in Sean having to run wide to avoid any contact.

Thankfully emerging unscathed, he spent the remainder of the final round bottled up behind the car of Brazilian driver Henrique Baptista. Another Safety Car period was required late in the race, leaving a two-lap sprint at the end in which Sean managed to keep at bay the experienced Josh Webster who was recovering after an earlier incident.

“We were hindered by the red flag in the first qualifying so we didn’t have very much time to get anything better than P13 for the first race”, explained Sean, “The second session wasn’t too bad though, I was reasonably happy with eighth on the grid for race two although without a small mistake I could have been a couple of places higher as I lost a tenth.

“Both races were quite frustrating really, in the first another driver just swung across and destroyed my front wing with his rear wheel. In the second one, I got a really bad re-start after the first Safety Car which meant I was passed into Copse and then someone else tried a fun-lunge as well, it was a bit dangerous, and I had to run wide and get on the brakes so lost a lot of time.”

Sean added: “After that the pace was alright but we lost too much ground, then we had another Safety Car so the race was pretty frustrating overall. We should have had more out of the weekend but we’ve got the Winter Series to look forward to next. It should be good and I’m well settled into the team so we’re hoping for two really strong weekends, I can’t wait for that to start now.”

Rounds one and two of the 2012 Protyre Formula Renault BARC Winter Series will take place just a fortnight from now, over the weekend 20th/21st October, at Brands Hatch Grand Prix Circuit in Kent – once again in support of the BTCC and with the promise of live television coverage on ITV4.

Final Provisional 2012 Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship Driver Standings:
18th Sean Walkinshaw, 71pts

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.