Seb Morris - Winter Series ChampionSeb Morris won the Protyre Formula Renault BARC Winter Series with Michelin during a dramatic finale at Rockingham on Saturday, 10th November, to secure an outstanding third car racing title in as many years – and his first single-seater crown in only his rookie season in the discipline

Taking a dominant victory during the first of two races at the Northamptonshire venue’s 1.94-mile International Sportscar Circuit, having breezed to an utterly dominant double pole position during the earlier qualifying session, the 16-year-old did what he needed to in the final round with a fourth place finish giving him the coveted title.

“I’m delighted to have secured a championship in my first year of single-seater racing”, said the Marford-based driver, “The entire team has worked together the whole weekend to prevail against some seriously talented opposition.”

Overnight rain left the Rockingham track surface extremely slippery but Seb mastered the conditions to bag pole position for round three, 0.4 seconds clear of his closest challenger. He then posted a very consistent second best time to secure the round four pole by an even greater 0.5 seconds.

Making a good start to race one, the British Racing Drivers’ Club (BRDC) Rising Star fended off a two-pronged attack through Turn One of the Rockingham Oval to establish himself in the lead – one he wouldn’t relinquish despite twice seeing his lead eroded by the appearance of the Safety Car.

Not putting a wheel wrong, Seb controlled the race and was never realistically threatened on his way to a near-six second winning margin. He also posted the fastest lap of 1m31.625 seconds (76.22mph) to claim two vital bonus points, which would ultimately prove decisive in the outcome of the title.

With the track continually drying throughout the day, albeit at a slow rate, tyre choice became a factor for the fourth and final round of the Winter Series. With the other front-runners opting for treaded rubber, Seb and the Fortec team decided to cover that fact by running with the same tyres.

His initial launch from pole was good but the car bogged down momentarily, dropping the Ginetta Ambassador to fourth on the run to Deene Hairpin but he quickly regained third at Chapman Curve which he knew would be good enough to claim his first single-seater championship.

By the ninth tour Matthew Brabham, who gambled on slick tyres, had carved his way through the field on the drying track and caught the leaders. Seb, realising Brabham wasn’t eligible to score points, let him through, as he explained: “In the latter stages of the race I simply knew I had to maintain position, conserve my tyres and drive with the championship, not the race result, in mind.

“It’s the perfect way to end my first year in single-seaters and I just want to thank all the guys at Fortec for their hard work all year, in the main championship and the Winter Series. I also want to say a big thank you to my driver coach Matt Shawyer, manager Andy Meyrick and, of course, mum and dad and Ginetta Cars for their support.”

Provisional 2012 Protyre Formula Renault BARC Winter Series with Michelin Standings:
CHAMPION: Seb Morris, 113pts

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.