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Category: Formula Renault 2.0 UK BARC

Seb MorrisFormula Renault 2.0 Northern European Cup racer Seb Morris has today, Monday, 3rd February, been confirmed as the latest addition to the Caterham Racing Academy – meaning the 18-year-old will compete in 2014 with the full support of the Caterham F1 Team’s driver program.

Seb, from Marford near Wrexham, makes the step-up to Formula Renault 2.0 NEC this year with Fortec Motorsport after becoming Vice-Champion of the BRDC Formula 4 Championship in 2013 with Hillspeed.

Ending last season with one win and nine other podiums, he was also selected as a finalist for the prestigious McLaren Autosport BRDC Award. Outside the cockpit, Seb works with Jack Wills as one of its ‘Young Britons’ and as an ambassador for TAG Heuer.

Mia Sharizman, Head of Caterham Racing Academy, commented: “Seb is another outstanding addition to our list of Academy drivers. His talent speaks for itself and we are very pleased to be able to provide him with the full range of support available to all our Academy drivers as he makes the step up to Formula Renault NEC. He will be a strong contender for championship honours this season and, if, as we firmly believe he will, he fulfills his promise, the UK will have another serious motorsport talent to back.”

Seb added: “Joining the Caterham Academy is pretty huge for me. Matt Parry [2013 Formula Renault 2.0 NEC Champion] is someone I look up to, and who I had a real battle with in the McLaren Autosport Awards.  I am following his footsteps this year, both as a Caterham driver and in NEC and I am looking to win it as Matt did.  To be part of an F1 team, with all the support and knowledge that brings, is a massive step forwards for my career.”

Seb’s motorsport career began in 2007 when he started racing karts aged 11. By 2010, he had progressed to the Ginetta Junior Championship where he showed his ability and became the youngest ever podium finisher and Winter Series Champion at 14-years-old. In 2011, Seb won the main Ginetta Junior title and was also awarded the Welsh Young Driver of the Year accolade.

In 2012, Seb was selected as a member of the Motor Sports Association (MSA) Academy and was also named a British Racing Drivers’ Club Rising Star. He moved into single-seater racing in the UK based Protyre Formula Renault Championship and finished the season as the highest placed rookie and third overall. He followed this by becoming the Winter Series Champion.

Photo by Jakob Ebrey PHotography.

Ivan TaranovScorpio Motosport made a long-awaited return to the top step of the Protyre Formula Renault Championship podium with a stunning double victory at Silverstone in the hands of Ivan Taranov.

The final rounds of the 2013 season saw the championship join the support package of the British Touring Car Championship, with Taranov making his return to the series having missed the past two meetings after having his license controversially suspended following an incident at Thruxton in June.

The Russian racer showed no signs of rustiness as he led the way during pre-event testing on Friday, pace that he replicated in qualifying to take his maiden championship pole position for the opening race with a lap of 56.697s.

Despite a good start off the line in race one, Taranov found himself shuffled back to second on the opening lap. Hot on the heels of race-leader Sam MacLeod though, Taranov was quickly back in front with a slick move on lap five. From there, he controlled the remainder of the race to secure his maiden series victory.

Filled with confidence from his race one success, Taranov had high hopes of replicating the feat in the second encounter, which was televised live on ITV4. Starting fourth, Taranov maintained his place off the line and then benefitted from the series champion and vice-champion making contact ahead at Becketts to storm through into the lead.

After a short safety car period following an incident-filled opening few laps, Taranov perfectly controlled the restart to instantly forge a gap to the pack behind. The 18 year old wouldn’t be caught from then, with a composed drive to the flag giving him his second victory.

Alongside the returning Taranov, the Scorpio team welcomed Piers Hickin into their camp for the final weekend, the 16 year old joining the team with limited experience in the series, having completed just three weekends earlier in the season with a different outfit.

Despite his relative inexperience, Hickin instantly impressed in the Scorpio blue, showing hugely encouraging top six pace in testing. In two incredibly-close qualifying sessions, Hickin secured eighth and eleventh place qualifying spots, lapping within just four tenths of pole position on both occasions.

Hickin slipped to eleventh on a frantic opening lap in race one, however the Surrey-based racer drove superbly in the tight midfield to fight his way back up to seventh place at the finish, his best result of the season.

The second race started in sensational fashion, as he scythed his way through from eleventh on the grid into the top four at the end of the opening lap. It came at a cost however, slight contact at his rear having led to a broken suspension.

Left defenceless from the pack behind after the safety car, Hickin eventually dropped back to an eleventh place finish at the flag. While a frustrating end to the weekend, he certainly showcased his potential over the course of the meeting.

For the team’s regular driver Henrique Baptista, the final meeting couldn’t have gone any differently to his team-mates’, with it proving to be a nightmare weekend to forget.

The Brazilian hinted at a positive weekend with an impressive run in testing on Wednesday, however a tough qualifying session left him in the midfield pack, with ninth and tenth place starts for the races.

Starting in the middle of the grid is always dangerous in the close, hard-fought Formula Renault series and so it proved at Silverstone, with unfortunate contact early on in both races leading to a frustrating double retirement.

“It’s been while, far too long in fact, since we last won,” said team principal Jon Pettitt. “It’s been a little Fortec and MGR heavy this season, so it’s great that we’ve got back up there and shown what we’re capable of with these cars.

“Ivan’s proved today that the pace is there and had things gone a little differently this season, he would have been a formidable force in the championship. The break has helped him, he’s grown up a little bit and come back and delivered, proving to everyone what he, and the team, can do.

“Piers has had a great weekend. It doesn’t show it in the results with the incident in race two, but his testing pace was fantastic considering he jumped straight into the car on Friday, so we know he’s got a lot of potential and we hope we can forge a partnership going into next season.

Photo by ASautosport Photography.

Matt Rao - HillspeedChampionship winning Protyre Formula Renault team Hillspeed is delighted to officially confirm Matt Rao as its initial driver signing for the 2013 campaign, the 18-year-old set to embark on his first full season in the category.

Having debuted in Protyre Formula Renault with Hillspeed during last year’s championship finale, before remaining with the Hathersage squad for the 2012 Winter Series, Rao is setting his sights on mounting a consistently strong challenge this season and becoming a regular top five runner.

Prior to his graduation into ‘slicks and wings’ action, the Oxford Brookes University student raced for two years in the Dunlop MSA Formula Ford Championship of Great Britain. Finishing second in the Scholarship Class in 2011, the Briton – who also has a family home in Toulouse, France – went on to become Duratec Class Champion last year with one victory and 11 other podiums.

“Ideally, I want to be finishing in the top five most weekends and trying to mount a challenge for a few podiums but we’ll have to see where we are when the season starts”, said Rao, “The winter has gone really well, we did the Winter Series and we’ve done a lot of running in testing – we put in over 1,000 miles at Guadix – so we’ve been preparing well.

“I have quite a smooth style and the wings of the Formula Renault help that, you need to be a lot more precise with the Renault and that definitely suits me more. The team is great, they’re a really nice bunch of guys and they know what they’re doing. We’ve all gelled well and I’m really looking forward to the season.”

Hillspeed, of course, has enjoyed a great deal of success in recent years in Protyre Formula Renault with the highlight being championship victory in 2010 with Alice Powell, who has since gone on to graduate into FIA Formula One World Championship support category GP3 Series.

The Derbyshire team has also won the Winter Series title twice, in 2008 with James Theodore and in 2011 with Spaniard Victor Jimenez. In addition, Hillspeed also steered Richard Singleton to the 2007 Formula Renault UK Winter Series title.

“It’s great to officially confirm Matt for Protyre Formula Renault this year, he’s had a very positive winter during testing and we’re confident he’s going to make big strides”, said Hillspeed team principal Richard Ollerenshaw, “We enjoyed working with him at the end of last season and through the Winter Series and we’re delighted to be able to continue that relationship into 2013.”

Hillspeed is still talking to several other drivers regarding its Protyre Formula Renault programme and is expected to confirm its second signing in due course.

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.

Rockingham PodiumMatthew Brabham turned on a masterful display in the final round of the Formula Renault BARC Winter Series at the Rockingham Race Circuit, fighting his way into contention for the lead on slick tires in damp conditions before finally having to settle for second place.

After a troubled qualifying session Matthew started from ninth on the grid and, after consultation with team Principal Cliff Dempsey, boldly elected to run slick tires on an extremely slippery surface. Virtually all the other front-runners chose to remain on wets.

Brabham picked up two places on the opening lap, worked his way into second by Lap 12 and closed quickly o nto the tail of race leader Jack Aitken. The Fortec Motorsport driver then employed some “robust” tactics to keep Brabham behind him, including almost driving him into the wall on the exit of the oval Turn One and later pushing him onto the grass at the exit of the Tarzan hairpin on Lap 14. Aitken’s brazen manoeuvres included nudging Brabham into a spin at the final corner on the last lap. This year’s Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda Champion quickly recovered to cross the line in third, but was credited with second when officials realized the race should have been concluded after 14 laps.

The top two finishers, Aitken and Brabham, were summoned to the stewards’ office after the podium ceremonies were completed, but no further action was taken.

“It was a bit disappointing,” said Dempsey. “Matt drove a fantastic race. The chief steward said that Matt deserved to win the race and probably would have won it if it had been a regular-season champions hip race. Honestly, we could have protested the decision but that’s not the way you like to win a race. Everybody saw how well Matt drove. He made his point.”

“We made a bit of a gamble and didn’t really have anything to lose so we decided to go for slicks instead of wets,” said Brabham. “I think everyone else just played it safe” In fact, Brabham spun on his reconnaissance lap but was able to continue and regain his original starting position.

“I caught a little bit of the wet line and it just tipped me around, so I wasn’t really too concerned about whether it was the right or wrong decision,” said Brabham. “I felt confident with the dry tires but it definitely made me think twice on the first lap so I was just really, really careful on the throttle in all the corners. I knew that if I could just get around the first couple of laps without having any incidents, I would be OK. Then I started to get into a rhythm and started pushing to the limits”

“It was de finitely different racing to what I’m used to! It was really challenging to try and get past him. I think it was a little bit of an extraordinary circumstance because it was the last race of the year and he hasn’t won a race yet so he really, really wanted to win and I really, really wanted to win so there was zero room given. It was definitely an eye-opener and I’ve never really seen that kind of stuff before so I learned a hell of a lot in that race. I’ll definitely take some of it back to America with me”

“We touched a few times but it didn’t fall my way in the end and I ended up having to settle for second place. But it was great to get on the podium for the last race. I’ve been aiming for the podium the whole time I’ve been here in the UK and I just can’t explain how happy I am for myself, all our Team USA Scholarship supporters and the Cliff Dempsey Racing team. It’s just been fantastic to get on the podium and have such a great last race. I really, really had a lot of fun and enjoyed it.”

The Team USA Scholarship is made possible by support from Doug Mockett & Company, Road Racing Drivers Club and its ground-breaking www.SAFEisFAST.com video tutorial initiative, Cooper Tire & Rubber Company, Double R Racing, INDYCAR’s Mazda Road to Indy, Mazda, David Heinemeier Hansson, Level 5 Motorsports, Honda Performance Development, NameSilo, Silicon Salvage, McMurry Inc., Parathyroid.com, Dyson Racing, Allen Berg Racing Schools, Seat Time, LLC, PitFit Training, Sparco USA, RACER Magazine, eFormulaCarNews.com, Speedstar Management, Styled Aesthetic and Manifest Group as well as numerous past Scholarship winners.

Sean Walkinshaw - FR BARC, RockinghamChipping Norton racer Sean Walkinshaw enjoyed a highly competitive conclusion to the Protyre Formula Renault BARC Winter Series with Michelin at Rockingham on Saturday, 10th November, to close-out the four race championship ninth in the driver standings.

Posting his best race result of the hotly-contested Winter Series during the final round on Saturday afternoon, the 19-year-old MTECH Lite driver produced one of his finest performances of the year to brilliantly climb from 16th on the grid into the coveted top 10 in challenging, drying conditions.

Qualifying, which took place on a wet track due to overnight rain, proved a battle for Sean and resulted in eighth row starts for each of the weekend’s encounters – disappointing for the second year racer after a very encouraging run in pre-event testing.

Determined to make progress, Sean made a good start and delivered a great opening lap to climb into 12th position. Although pushed back to 16th by lap five, following a brief Safety Car period, the teenager was able to recover to 13th place by the finish, just a couple of seconds shy of the top 12.

With no additional rainfall during the day, the track dried throughout – albeit slowly – leading to debate over whether or not to gamble on slick tyres or play it safer and run with treaded Michelin rubber. Sean, like the vast majority of the grid, selected the second option and it paid dividends.

Putting together another sensational opening lap, the Oxfordshire driver carved his way into 11th place and set about challenging the more experienced Michael Epps for 10th on lap three at Deene Hairpin but had to tuck back in.

Slipping behind team-mate Joe Ghanem on lap four, following the slightest of errors, Sean had to recover the lost ground but did so rapidly and after pressuring the Lebanese racer he got back ahead on the seventh tour into 11th position.

Lapping much faster than Epps ahead, Sean reeled his rival in and broke into the top 10 three laps from the finish. Confirming his front-running pace, the MTECH driver’s best lap of 1m25.592 seconds was just 0.2 seconds shy of the best produced by eventual Winter Series Champion Seb Morris.

“Qualifying was tough, the first race was even tougher, but the last race went well”, said Sean, “The car felt amazing really in race two, it was flying but I made a couple of mistakes unfortunately which nearly ruined all the good work I’d done. I just had to work even harder then, it was really good fun.

“I had some great battles with the guys around me, all clean driving which was great to be part of. We could have got a bit more out of the weekend, certainly race two, but overall I’m pleased to end the Winter Series with that sort of performance.”

With his Formula Renault commitments concluded for 2012, next on the calendar for Sean will be his final competitive outing of the year during round two of the inaugural MRF Challenge which will take place at Buddh International Circuit in India on Friday, 30th November, and Saturday, 1st December.

Provisional Protyre Formula Renault BARC Winter Series with Michelin Standings:
9th Sean Walkinshaw, 39pts

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.

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.

Seb Morris - Brands Hatch GPFortec Motorsports driver Seb Morris made an excellent start to his Protyre Formula Renault BARC Winter Series with Michelin title bid at a rain-hit Brands Hatch Grand Prix Circuit over the weekend, 20th/21st October, with victory during round one followed by a top four result in round two.

Ending the first weekend of the Winter Series just two points shy of the top of the championship, the 16-year-old British Racing Drivers’ Club (BRDC) Rising Star has a fantastic chance of securing his third car racing title in as many years when the championship resumes three weeks from now.

Making a strong start to the rain-affected Brands Hatch weekend, Seb posted the fastest time of the day during pre-event testing on Friday, 19th October, a remarkable 0.9 seconds clear at the head of the field. In qualifying though, he had to settle for third on the grid for both races.

Producing a great start to round one on Saturday afternoon, the Marford-based teenager launched past the stalled car of Gustav Malja and ran close behind leader Matt Mason for the first half of the race, the pair trading fastest laps.

Just a second behind Mason going into lap nine, Seb kept the pressure on and part-way through the lap his rival pushed just a bit too hard as he went off the road – enabling the Fortec driver to sweep past into the lead which he maintained to the chequered flag on lap 12. Winning by almost eight seconds, he only just missed out on the bonus points for fastest lap by a mere 0.1 seconds.

“He [Mason] was on the edge from the start, we were both pushing so hard and that meant the tyre life was very short”, explained the Ginetta Ambassador, “When we got past lap five or six the tyres completely went off, so I adjusted my driving and I think that paid off. The main thing with the Winter Series is to finish all four races, there are no drop rounds so you can’t afford a bad result.”

The weather for Sunday’s televised race was dreadful, persistent and worsening rain throughout the day rendering visibility extremely poor. Seb made another good start, taking second place at Druids on the first lap, and he proceeded to reel-in leader Mason.

Tucked right up under the rear wing of his rival going into Clearways at the end of lap one, the Welsh racer managed to cut to the inside line on the run through Clark Curve and held on into the second tour to grab the lead. Mason hit back into Druids but Seb immediately returned the favour with a great pass into the next turn, Graham Hill Bend.

On the run into the left-hander at Surtees though, the slightest of twitches for his FR 2.0 pitched his car off the circuit in the horrendously slippery conditions. Recovering in eighth place, Seb mounted a rapid recovery and by the end of lap three he was in fifth position.

Another unfortunate moment, while pushing to try and take fourth from Michael Epps, resulted in a spin but Seb again recovered well and climbed back into fifth from seventh before moving into fourth on the last lap of the race.

“When I was behind [Michael] Epps I couldn’t see a thing in the spray and I must have just caught the edge of the kerb which spun me round”, explained the Abbey Gate College student, “I managed to fight back from there and the car was there for me towards the end. It’s unfortunate the way race two turned out but I’m only two points behind going into Rockingham, so we’re right in the chase.”

Rockingham International Sportscar Circuit, near Corby in Northamptonshire, will host the decisive third and fourth rounds of the Winter Series on Saturday, 10th November.

2012 Protyre Formula Renault BARC Winter Series with Michelin Standings (after Rds1&2):
1st Matt Mason, 56pts; 2nd Seb Morris, 54pts

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.

George GambleGeorge Gamble, 2011 Ginetta Junior Winter Series Champion, will make a welcome return to the track at Brands Hatch Grand Prix Circuit this weekend, 20th/21st October, after signing a deal with Hillspeed to contest the four-round Protyre Formula Renault BARC Winter Series with Michelin.

The Nottingham 16-year-old will make his single-seater debut with the Hathersage team after a six month lay-off from action – he memorably withdrew from the 2012 Ginetta Junior Championship in April following a multi-car accident at Donington Park which resulted in his car being written-off.

Gamble instantly became a success in the ranks of Ginetta Junior in his first full season of car racing in 2011 when he took three victories and five other podiums on his way to third in the standings. He then went on to claim that November’s Winter Series title with one win and two further podiums from the four races contested.

Joining Gamble for the Winter Series will be Formula Ford graduate Matt Rao who made his Protyre Formula Renault BARC debut with Hillspeed during the final two rounds of the main season at Silverstone almost a fortnight ago.

The 18-year-old, this year’s Dunlop MSA Formula Ford Championship of Great Britain Duratec Class Champion, impressed on his first weekend in ‘slicks and wings’ and secured a best finish of 15th place from a capacity grid of 32 cars.

Like new team-mate Gamble, Rao – who is a British national but resides in Levignac, France – has the benefit of past experience of the full Brands Hatch GP track so will undoubtedly make good progress during rounds one and two of the Winter Series this weekend.

“We’re absolutely delighted to have George partnering Matt for the Winter Series and we’re certain both drivers are going to be very competitive”, said Hillspeed team principal Richard Ollerenshaw, “I was very pleased with Matt’s progress on his debut at Silverstone, to come straight into Formula Renault from Formula Ford and race so strongly was great to see.

“Since George decided to withdraw from Ginetta Junior earlier in the year, we’ve been very keen to get him out in one of our Formula Renaults in race conditions. When he tested the car earlier in the year he was very quick and we’re sure he can spring some surprises on his debut this weekend.”

In addition to Hillspeed’s commitments in the Protyre Formula Renault BARC Winter Series this weekend, the team’s Ginetta Junior squad will also be in action at Brands Hatch for the final two rounds of its 2012 season.

Going into the event, Spanish car racing rookie Pepe Massot is fourth in the overall championship with two wins while relative newcomer Freddie Lee – who only debuted in August – is 14th in the driver standings with a best result of seventh place so far.

Formula Renault BARC qualifying will take place at 09.00 and 12.45 on Saturday, 20th October, with race one beginning at 16.10 and race two following on Sunday, 21st October, at 13.10. Ginetta Junior qualifying will get underway at 13.50 on Saturday with round 19 scheduled for 16.45. The final round of the Ginetta Junior season will follow on Sunday at 12.10.

Sunday’s racing will be screened live on ITV4, on ITV4 HD and streamed online at www.itv.com/btcc

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.

Macaulay Walsh (No.20) SilverstoneFirst year Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship racer Macaulay Walsh endured a difficult final weekend of the season at his home track, Silverstone National Circuit, over the weekend, 6th/7th October, but notably managed to conclude his rookie campaign inside the coveted series top six.

All things being equal, the 17-year-old from Northampton should have secured at least one podium finish from the season finale but a series of circumstances out of his control conspired to make the event one of the toughest of the year for the Scorpio Motorsport driver.

From the start of the weekend, though, Macaulay’s pace was without question as he scorched to the third fastest time overall in testing on Friday, 5th October, with a lap a mere 0.080 seconds shy of the top of the timesheets.

Confident of carrying that level of performance through to qualifying, his chances in the round 13 session were dealt a cruel blow when a fuel starvation issue limited him to only two below par laps, resulting in a back of the grid start for Saturday’s races in 32nd position.

In the round 14 session though, with his Formula Renault firing on all cylinders, Macaulay was able to prove his true pace again with the third fastest time – only 0.083 seconds shy of his first ever car racing pole position.

Facing a monumental challenge in the opening race, the Bodymek Ltd, Adrian Bibby Creative Design and Itchy Feet Motorhomes-supported racer delivered a remarkable performance which drew plaudits from his peers throughout the Silverstone paddock.

Making a great getaway from stone last on the capacity 32-car grid, despite being held up by slower cars on the run into the first turn, Macaulay sliced through the field with some star moves and by the end of lap three he had scythed his way past half the grid to climb into the top 16.

Into 12th place by lap 10, the Scorpio driver was unrelenting as he surged up the order and managed to break into the 10 near the end to cap a remarkable performance. Even with the overtaking, and obvious delay it entails, he still posted a best lap just 0.2 seconds shy of the fastest of all.

“Second qualifying was OK, but if I’d hooked the lap up properly I should have been on pole”, said Macaulay, “Obviously the first race was going to be tough but coming through from 32nd to 10th was pretty good – it’s just disappointing we had the problem in first qualifying otherwise we could have been right up there fighting for the podium.”

Off the back of such a headline-grabbing drive, hopes were justly high for a podium challenge in the televised 14th round on Sunday with Macaulay starting on the second row of the grid. Unfortunately, things didn’t go according to plan when, on lap eight, he was unceremoniously hit from behind going into the left-hander at Brooklands while running in third place.

Punted off the circuit, the Northamptonshire ace managed to recover back onto the track – albeit with significant damage to his car – and charged through from 25th place into the top 14, gaining an incredible 11 positions. To add insult to injury though, he was served with a five second time penalty having been deemed to have exceeded the track limits at Copse Corner once too often.

“I didn’t get too much of a good start in race two”, explained the rookie, “I dropped to fourth but got back up to third, then I made a little mistake at Becketts which was the start of everything going from good to bad! When I got hit it was classed a racing incident which I was surprised by. It’s not the weekend we wanted to end the season with, but we know we had the pace for a lot more.”

Final 2012 Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship Driver Standings:
CHAMPION: Scott Malvern, 368pts; 6th Macaulay Walsh, 214pts

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.

Kieran VernonSilverstone hosted the finale of the Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship in which Kieran Vernon secured his fourth podium of the campaign to conclude the season an excellent fifth in the driver standings, despite having missed the opening three races of the year.

Round 14 was the pick of the two for the Hillspeed racer – qualifying on the front row, a mere 0.028 seconds shy of pole position, Vernon did unfortunately slip to third off the start and was then pushed back to fifth on lap two before mounting a determined recovery.

Profiting from a lap eight tangle between Chris Middlehurst and Macaulay Walsh, Vernon sliced back by at Brooklands to take third where he remained to the conclusion on lap 21; taking the flag just 0.9 seconds behind newly crowned champion Scott Malvern. In round 13, Vernon finished seventh after a good drive through from 11th on the grid.

Team-mate Struan Moore climbed from 18th on the grid in race one to a season-best 13th place on only his second weekend in single-seaters. Gaining a spot on lap one when David Wagner crashed out, Moore gradually worked his way up the order to finish just 0.9 seconds shy of the top 12.

In race two, he again made good progress by slicing his way through from 24th on the grid into 17th place ahead of a number of more experienced Formula Renault BARC competitors. Moore’s pace was impressive in both encounters, but especially the first in which he lapped just 0.5 seconds outside the fastest lap of all.

Championship newcomer Matt Rao, making his ‘slicks and wings’ debut just one week on from winning the ‘Duratec Class’ title in the Dunlop MSA Formula Ford Championship of Great Britain, delivered an impressive account of himself in the first race on Saturday.

Qualifying 21st on the grid, within 0.9 seconds of pole position, Rao made good progress early in the race and took 16th just after mid-distance where he remained to the flag. In round 14, the series rookie raced impressively from 20th on the grid to climb into the top 14 by the end of lap eight but on the 16th tour he was tagged into retirement by Max Robinson at Becketts.

“It was absolutely incredible to get Kieran up there on the podium in the final round of the BARC season, especially off the back of Pepe winning such an incredible race in the Ginettas”, added Ollerenshaw, “Kieran’s had a great season, with hardly any testing he’s managed to produce some fantastic results which shows his quality.

“Struan is getting quicker all the time and has impressed us on only his second weekend in the Renault, he’s certainly a fantastic prospect for next year and Matt did everything we could have asked on his debut – he was very unlucky in race two, just one of those things unfortunately.”

While the Protyre Formula Renault BARC season has now concluded, rounds 19 and 20 of the Ginetta Junior Championship, the final two races of the season, will take place at Brands Hatch Grand Prix Circuit two weeks from now on 20th/21st October.