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Carlin’s race winning GP3 team embark on the first of two post-season GP3 tests this week, as the team head to Jerez in Spain for an official two day test. Fresh from the season finale a little over a month ago, which saw Antonio Felix da Costa fighting for the championship title, Carlin welcome 2012 British Formula Three Champion Jack Harvey to the cockpit as well as Formula Renault BARC runner-up Josh Webster and multiple Formula Ford race winner Eric Lichenstein.

2012 was Carlin’s most successful year in the championship to date taking four wins over the course of the year and finishing third overall in the team championship, Carlin now look ahead to the two day test in Jerez where they will bring two of their three cars to the circuit. British driver Webster will be in the car for the total duration of the test while Lichenstein will drive on the first day before handing over to Harvey for the second.

The 2012 season saw 18 year-old Webster take an impressive five race wins in the Formula Renault BARC on his way to becoming Vice Champion. While Webster has experience of an F3 car following his participation in this year’s Masters of Formula Three at Zandvoort, this will be Webster’s first taste of a GP3 car and also his first visit to Jerez.

The first day of testing will see Formula Ford driver Lichenstein in the second car for his first GP3 experience. 18 year old Lichenstein had a stunning first year competing in the EcoBoost UK Formula Ford Championship. The young Argentinian finished the season as the top rookie and won more races than any other driver, with 11 victories in total.

Taking over from him on the final day of testing will be 2012 British Formula Three Champion Jack Harvey. Harvey’s championship winning season with Carlin saw him take 13 podiums including seven wins to become the team’s fifth consecutive British F3 champion. Having spent the past two seasons with the British squad Harvey already knows the team well and has spent time in the factory since his championship win in preparation for this week’s test.

Looking ahead to the test, Josh Webster said, “It should be a great experience and completely different to the cars I’ve driven before but I’m looking forward to the challenge. It’s my first time working with Carlin but I’ve been to the factory and I’m glad to be with an established and experienced team for this test.

“It’s also my first time in Jerez but I’ve been on the simulator to learn the track so I’m confident that I should be able to get to grips with the layout fairly quickly and start concentrating on the car.”

The two day test will span the 24th-25th October.

Josh Webster - SilverstoneJosh Webster rounded-out the 2012 Protyre Formula Renault BARC season at Silverstone National Circuit on Sunday, 7th October, as category runner-up for the second year in succession following an incident-packed final race of the campaign.

While the 18-year-old MSA Team UK driver did face a near-impossible task to overhaul title rival Scott Malvern’s healthy advantage on the last weekend of the season, he gave it everything he had and set-up an intriguing finale by finishing ahead of Malvern in the first of the event’s two races on Saturday, 6th October, with second place – his ninth podium of the year.

Going into Sunday’s televised 14th round within 11 points of the series leader, Josh had a tough challenge starting seventh on the grid. His hopes then evaporated on lap eight, while in sixth place, when forced to avoid a collision between the fourth and fifth placed cars at Brooklands.

Dropping the MGR Motorsport driver to the tail of the top 20, he delivered an excellent recovery drive and produced some outstanding overtaking manoeuvres on his way back to 13th place but all to no avail in terms of the championship challenge.

The Stowmarket teenager’s bid for the 2012 title began well after winning the first round and taking two additional second places on the opening weekend of the season. After being wiped-out of qualifying at Rockingham during the second event of the year though, the Nine Group, Admiral Solutions & Support and Integra ICT-backed racer had faced an uphill struggle from that point on.

Even so, Josh’s record speaks for itself with five wins for the year, a total of nine podiums from 14 races, four pole positions and three fastest laps. He was also recently named one of the six finalists for the coveted McLaren Autosport BRDC Award – the most prestigious young driver accolade in British motorsport, won in the past by 2009 FIA Formula One World Champion Jenson Button.

“It has been a good year on the whole, we’ve got some positives to take away with five wins and nine podiums”, said Josh, “Racing is harsh sometimes though, I said exactly the same thing this time last year! We did make some good overtaking moves after being forced off the track but I was never going to win the championship.

“We went out fighting but now I’m just looking forward and I can’t wait for the finals of the McLaren Autosport BRDC Award. It would have been good to go out on a win but when [Chris] Middlehurst and [Macaulay] Walsh clashed that was curtains for me.”

He added: “It’s been fantastic working with all the guys at MGR this year, it really is a great team and I want to say a big thank you to everyone there especially Mark Godwin, Mark my mechanic and Peter my engineer for all their hard work during the season.

“We’ve got a lot of options for 2013, I’m looking forward to moving on – whether that’s in Formula 3 or GP3. The main focus first though is the McLaren Award, I’ve got no expectations other than it being an amazing experience and an incredible opportunity.”

Final 2012 Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship Driver Standings:
CHAMPION: Scott Malvern, 368pts; 2nd Josh Webster, 335pts

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.

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.

Josh Webster - Croft Double WinnerStowmarket racing driver Josh Webster moved to within only seven points of the Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship lead during rounds eight and nine of the season at Croft on Sunday, 22nd July, after claiming two superb race victories – his third and fourth of 2012.

The 18-year-old headed into the weekend brimming with confidence after his excellent Invitational Class victory during the RTL GP Masters of F3 the previous Sunday, 15th July, on his maiden outing in Formula 3 at Zandvoort in The Netherlands.

Taking the 15-minute practice session to adapt back to his MGR Motorsport-run FR 2.0 car, the MSA Team UK driver raced to an unchallenged six second victory from pole position in round eight – adding the fastest lap in the process – before expertly fending off title rival Scott Malvern in round nine to win again.

“Ultimately this is what we wanted to do, close-up on Scott [Malvern] and take a double win – it’s exactly what I needed”, said Josh, “After driving the Formula 3 car, physically the Formula Renault is easier so doing the F3 race definitely helped. The team has done a phenomenal job here, the car has been awesome all weekend so massive thanks to the guys at MGR.”

Securing his third pole position in succession in round eight qualifying with a time of 1m21.340 seconds (94.05mph), Josh just missed out on making it four in a row in the round nine session, which was shortened after an accident involving Sean Walkinshaw, by a mere 0.095 seconds.

Dominating the first race from lights-to-flag, the Nine Group, Admiral Solutions & Support and Integra ICT-backed racer held a lead of more than one second after the opening lap and proceeded to post fastest lap times throughout on his way to a faultless 6.1 second winning margin.

Lining-up second on the grid for round nine, Josh made a superb start to immediately move ahead of pole-sitting team-mate David Wagner before rocketing into a 1.5 second lead. Malvern closed in as the race progressed but Josh controlled the lead, saying: “Scott was in my mirrors for a period but I had things under control and felt in a comfortable position to take my second win of the weekend.”

The appearance of the Safety Car on lap eight could have made things difficult but the Suffolk driver did a good job at the re-start and fended off Malvern to the chequered flag on lap 17, just missing out on the fastest lap by less than 0.1 seconds.

“I’m really looking forward to going to Donington for the next three rounds”, said Josh, “I’ve got a good history there and I know the team will give me a great car again. This weekend has been great for us, it was really important for our championship to win both races so massive thanks as always to my sponsors for helping put me on the grid.”

There are just four weeks to wait until the next instalment of Protyre Formula Renault BARC action with rounds 10, 11 and 12 of the season taking place on 18th/19th August at Donington Park National Circuit in Leicestershire.

Provisional 2012 Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship Driver Standings (after Rd9):
1st Scott Malvern, 234pts; 2nd Josh Webster, 227pts

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.

Josh WebsterProtyre Formula Renault BARC Championship front-runner Josh Webster got his title ambitions firmly back on track at Thruxton Circuit in Hampshire on Sunday, 17th June, with a richly deserved double podium – including his second race win of 2012.

Arriving at the 2.35-mile track third in the championship after dreadful misfortune at Rockingham last time out, the MSA Team UK driver enjoyed his most successful weekend of the season so far after sealing pole position for both races and then taking his podium tally for the year to five from seven race starts.

The Stowmarket 18-year-old also posted the fastest lap in race one, 1m13.656 seconds (115.15mph), and the combined haul of 62 points – the most of any driver this weekend – has lifted Josh to second in the championship.

“Thruxton has been 10 times better than Rockingham was”, said the Nine Group, Admiral Solutions & Support and Integra ICT-supported racer, “Starting off with the double pole position was great, the MGR guys did an awesome job with the car, and a win and a second place is almost as much as you can ask for. We’ve taken a big haul of points away so we’re definitely back in the title hunt now.”

Josh was expectedly strong in qualifying with a fastest time of 1m12.857 seconds (116.41mph), almost 0.3 seconds clear of his closest challenger, and a consistently rapid second best time of 1m13.057 seconds (116.09mph).

Leading away from pole position in round six, the Suffolk driver headed Scott Malvern for the first couple of laps but on the third tour at Goodwood the latter managed to edge ahead. Remaining glued to Malvern’s tail for the remainder of the race, Josh had to settle for second place – albeit with two bonus points for fastest lap – a mere 0.5 seconds adrift.

Determined to go one better in round seven, the MGR Motorsport racer led away once again and controlled the first couple of laps before the Safety Car was deployed on track following an incident at Allard.

At the re-start on lap nine, Josh continued to lead but Malvern got ahead on lap 12. Continuing to circulate nose-to-tail, everything changed again on the 14th tour when Josh moved back to the front following unfortunate contact between the two leaders at the complex.

“There was a bit of contact there near the end”, said Josh, “[Scott] Malvern was in front, we both braked together into the corner but then he stopped on the apex and I had nowhere to go. It’s unfortunate, I never like to have contact with anyone, but it was unavoidable and the race officials agreed with that.”

Josh now has a five week break from race action with rounds eight and nine of the Protyre Formula Renault BARC season set to take place over the weekend 21st/22nd July at Croft in North Yorkshire.

Provisional 2012 Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship Driver Standings (after Rd7):
1st Scott Malvern, 182pts; 2nd Josh Webster, 161pts

Photo by Jakob Ebrey PHotography.

Josh WebsterStowmarket’s Josh Webster endured a luckless second event of the Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship season at Rockingham in Northamptonshire over the weekend, 19th/20th May, but the MSA Team UK driver still managed to score enough points to remain in the coveted series top three.

Arriving at the Corby venue with a 14 point championship lead, having taken one win and two other podiums during the season-opening race meeting at Snetterton in early April, the 18-year-old had realistic hopes of continuing his excellent start to the campaign.

Everything started to unravel for the MGR Motorsport racer though in the very first qualifying session on Saturday, a spinning car at Turn One of the oval banking leaving the British Racing Drivers’ Club Rising Star with nowhere to go and the resulting impact almost wrecked his FR 2.0 car.

Forced to miss the second session due to the severity of the damage, Josh had to start round four from an uncharacteristic 16th on the grid while for round five he had to line-up at the rear of the 28 car field with an absolute mountain to climb in just 15 scheduled laps.

Gaining several places in quick order in the first race on Sunday, despite his front wing collapsing, Josh moved into 11th by lap four and following a mid-race Safety Car period he broke into the top 10 on the 13th tour. During the last couple of laps, the wing problems became more severe leading to greater and greater understeer but he managed to wrestle his car to the finish in 13th position.

His start to round five was nothing short of sensational, Josh managing to climb 12 places up the order into 16th position before moving into 14th by lap three – meaning he had overtaken half the 28 car field by the third racing lap!

Soon after though at Tarzan Hairpin, he was unceremoniously hit from behind under braking and pitched into a spin which relegated him to the tail of the field. In the end, he managed to battle his way back into the top 20 to achieve a couple of extremely hard-earned points.

Even though carrying damage to his car and locked in the lower order, the Nine Group, Admiral Solutions & Support and Integra ICT-backed racer managed to lap within just 0.4 seconds of the race winner’s pace – proof of what would have been possible without the catalogue of misfortune.

“It all spiralled off from the crash in qualifying, it was a really big shunt and the team did an amazing job to get the car back together”, said Josh, “The bad luck didn’t end there though. In the first race we had a problem with the front-wing detaching itself right from the start of the race, so I had monumental understeer which worsened throughout the race making it almost impossible to drive.

“In the second race I’d had an awesome first three laps, making up 14 places, but into Tarzan someone just smashed into me and I had to wait for everyone else to go by before I could spin the car round. It’s been an awful, awful weekend but you still have to take away the positives – at least we scored some points!”

He added: “The team did a fantastic job, massive thanks to Peter my engineer, Mark my mechanic and everyone else at the team for their hard work. It’s really gutting to have lost the championship lead through no fault of our own, but at least we took a few points and can maybe use one of these races as our drop score at the end of the year. We need to focus now on bouncing back at the next round.”

There is now a four week break in the Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship calendar with rounds six and seven of the season taking place on Sunday, 17th June, at Thruxton in Hampshire.

Provisional 2012 Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship Driver Standings (after Rd5):
3rd Josh Webster, 99pts

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.

Josh WebsterMSA Team UK racer Josh Webster made an outstanding start to the 2012 Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship at his home track, Snetterton 200 Circuit, over the weekend, 7th/8th April, by claiming one win and two second places to open up a healthy 16 point lead in the driver standings.

With no preparation prior to the opening three rounds of the season, after striking an eleventh hour deal with MGR Motorsport to make an unexpected but welcome return to the category, last year’s Vice-Champion overcame set-up issues in qualifying to star in all three races.

Rising from third on the grid in Saturday afternoon’s opening round to take a richly deserved win in tricky, damp conditions, the Stowmarket 18-year-old was runner-up in Sunday’s second and third rounds to enjoy a hugely successful start to the new season.

“To win on Saturday was great and if I’d known before the weekend I’d have a win and then two second places I’d have taken that”, said Josh after round three, “Huge thanks to MGR and to all of my sponsors, if it wasn’t for them we wouldn’t have been on the grid at all this weekend.”

Regarded as one of the country’s top young single-seater talents, the Suffolk racer was due, of course, to compete in the Certina Formula Renault 2.0 UK Championship this year but a decision to postpone the series only three weeks ago – due to low grid numbers – left Josh with few options.

After a race against time, and thanks to the continued support of his portfolio of sponsors headed by Nine Telecom, Admiral Managed Networks and Integra ICT, he was able to secure a deal in the days leading up to this weekend’s action to get back on track in Protyre Formula Renault BARC.

Qualifying proved a challenge as Josh piloted a car which was set-up in the expectation of drier conditions towards the end of the damp session. Intermittent rain meant the British Racing Drivers’ Club Rising Star had a fight on his hands to secure anything like a front running position but he managed to post the third fastest time for round one and fifth on the grid for rounds two and three.

At the start of the season-opening race on Saturday, Josh made a superb launch from third on the damp track to move into second place and following a mistake for the race leader at the beginning of lap two he duly moved into the lead. On lap six, he was unseated from first place by Scott Malvern at the Esses but Josh moved back ahead on lap 11 and took the win by 4.6 seconds.

Round two was completely dry and the 2011 RSF MSA Young Driver of the Year instantly made progress again by moving up from fifth to fourth off the start. Pressuring third placed team-mate David Wagner hard, Josh grabbed the place on lap two and then took second from Malvern as they headed into the 18th and final lap.

Rain prior to the start of the final race made for difficult conditions but, yet again, Josh made a terrific getaway to climb from fifth into second through the first corner. Holding the place comfortably, he was never challenged throughout and sealed his third podium in as many races.

“MGR did an amazing job to put the car together in two days flat before coming here as the deal was so late, now we’ve got the chance to strip it down completely and improve it for Rockingham”, said Josh, “Hopefully we can have an even better weekend there and really show what we’re capable of.”

Rounds four and five of the 2012 Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship will take place over the weekend 19th/20th May at Rockingham in Northamptonshire.

Provisional 2012 Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship Driver Standings (after Rd3):
1st Josh Webster, 88pts

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.

Josh WebsterTeam UK’s Josh Webster will graduate to the main Certina Formula Renault 2.0 UK Championship for the 2012 season after today, Thursday, 16th February, finalising a deal to remain with experienced race-winning squad Mark Burdett Motorsport.

The Stowmarket teenager delivered an impressive performance on his debut in a current specification FR 2.0 car when driving for the Skegness squad during the six-round Formula Renault UK ‘Finals Series’ last November – finishing an excellent third overall in the driver standings.

Having concluded the 2011 Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship as Vice-Champion just a month earlier, taking three wins and six other podiums from 12 races, Josh’s ability, determination and focus over the past 12 months have seen him gain a strong foothold in single-seater racing.

“We’ve been working so hard to try and put together a deal to race in Formula Renault UK this year so I’m happy we’ve been able to agree something with Mark Burdett”, said Josh, “The team did a great job for me in the Finals Series last year and together we showed we’ve got what it takes to run at the front in Formula Renault UK.

“I have to say a big thank you to all of my sponsors, especially James Palmer of Nine Telecom, Graham McMullen and David Marsden of Admiral Managed Networks and Pas Ruggiero of Integra ICT, for continuing to support me and helping us to finalise a great drive for 2012. This is going to be such an important year for my career, particularly as I’ll be representing Team UK and the MSA, so I’ll be giving it everything.”

Speaking on behalf of the team, Mark Burdett commented: “We were very impressed with Josh in the Finals Series last year, he did a very good job and the top priority for us this season was to try and sort out a deal with him. We’re delighted he’s with us, we’ve all got a great working relationship with Josh and the aim is to try and fight for the championship – that’s why we’re here!”

Renowned as one of the most important junior single-seater categories in the world, the Certina Formula Renault 2.0 UK Championship has produced some of motorsport’s greatest names since its inception in 1989 and is a true ante-chamber to the world of Formula One.

FIA Formula One World Champions Kimi Raikkonen and Lewis Hamilton are both past winners of the Formula Renault UK title, while fellow Grand Prix stars Paul Di Resta and Heikki Kovalainen also came through the championship en-route to F1.

For the first time in the history of Formula Renault UK, this year’s championship will feature three races at each meeting – bringing the category in-line with the format employed by the Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series.

Beginning at Brands Hatch Indy Circuit over the weekend 31st March/1st April, as part of the British Touring Car Championship package, the season will take in visits to Donington Park, Thruxton, Oulton Park, Snetterton, Rockingham and the finale at Brands Hatch GP Circuit on 20th/21st October.

Away from the seven BTCC support dates, Formula Renault UK will visit Zandvoort in The Netherlands in mid-July where it will run alongside the prestigious Formula 3 Masters event. In early September, the championship will also support British F3 at Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit.

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.

Josh WebsterAnother impressively strong outing in the Protyre Formula Renault UK ‘Finals Series’ at Rockingham in Northamptonshire on Saturday, 12th November, secured talented rookie Josh Webster third place in the championship standings – a brilliant way to cap off 2011 for the Suffolk teenager.

Off the back of a maiden Formula Renault UK podium finish a week earlier at Snetterton in Norfolk, the 17-year-old Mark Burdett Motorsport racer produced two more strong drives to see off Red Bull-backed competitor Daniil Kvyat by seven points. Ending the series as the best placed newcomer, Josh defeated some of Britain and Europe’s most highly touted aspiring Formula One drivers.

Added to his Vice-Champion status from the Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship this year, the top three finish in the Finals Series marks Josh out as a true contender for front-running honours in the main Formula Renault UK Championship next season.

“It’s really good getting third in the points, I’m so happy we managed to achieve it against such tough and experienced competition with just a few days in the car”, said the Stowmarket ace, “The field in the Finals Series this year has been unbelievably strong, especially with the guys who came over from Europe, but we did a great job.

“Massive thanks to Mark Burdett, Andy, Robbie and Jack at the team for all their hard work. As always, a huge thank you as well to my sponsors, especially James Palmer of Nine Telecom and Graham and David of Admiral Managed Networks.”

Having topped the times in the third of the official test sessions on Friday, 11th November, Josh and the team had high hopes for Saturday’s action but qualifying brought fresh challenges in the way of foggy conditions and a damp circuit.

Making a great start to the opening encounter and producing a brave first lap, Josh gained five places to move into fifth but following a three lap Safety Car period he made a small mistake under braking, running too deep into Deene Hairpin, and lost several places in the process. Rejoining in 10th position, he swiftly worked his way back into ninth where he remained to the flag.

Holding fourth place in the championship standings after round five, a couple of points behind Kvyat, Josh faced a tough final outing but delivered superbly. Starting seventh on the grid, out of 29 competitors, he ended lap one in sixth place and after a brief Safety Car period produced a fantastic cut-back at Deene Hairpin to take fifth.

Through two additional Safety Car interludes in the dry 25-minute encounter, Josh maintained terrific composure and challenged hard for fourth place to the conclusion. He almost made it with a superbly brave attempt through the Turn One oval banking but fifth was enough, with Kvyat 10th, to secure his richly deserved top three championship finish.

Final 2011 Protyre Formula Renault UK ‘Finals Series’ Standings (after Rd6):
CHAMPION: Oliver Rowland, 190pts; 2nd Dan Wells, 133pts; 3rd Josh Webster, 118pts

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.

Josh WebsterJosh Webster delivered a star performance on his Formula Renault UK debut at Snetterton in Norfolk over the weekend, 5th/6th November – the 17-year-old series rookie surprising the established order by claiming his maiden category podium during the opening event of the 2011 ‘Finals Series’.

Scoring consistently well during Saturday’s opening two rounds with seventh and fifth place finishes, the Stowmarket driver improved yet further on Sunday to claim fourth position in round three before a sensational second place finish in round four delivered a richly deserved rostrum and third overall in the championship standings.

“Going into the weekend I didn’t know what to expect against such experienced and tough competition, so to get a podium is great – I’m really happy”, said Josh, “We made good progress throughout and I’m sure there’s more to come.”

Signing a deal with Mark Burdett Motorsport just a week or so prior to the start of the six-race championship, previously known as the Winter Series, the Suffolk racer joined the category for perhaps its most competitive ever campaign with over 30 drivers set to participate.

Including a wide array of experienced front-runners from Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 and Formula Renault UK, the near-capacity field served to provide an incredibly high level for Josh to measure himself against. Impressing throughout, the Formula Renault BARC Vice-Champion adapted well to the different driving style and characteristics of the UK-spec FR 2.0 car.

Qualifying 11th fastest for round one on Saturday in wet conditions, the British Racing Drivers’ Club (BRDC) Rising Star aced his first ever start in a current specification FR 2.0 car and climbed into the top eight on lap one before gaining seventh on lap four where he remained to the flag on lap 13.

Starting 10th on the grid for round two on Saturday afternoon, on a wet but drying track, another superb start hoisted Josh into the top six and following an early Safety Car period he moved into fifth on lap four. During the second half of the race, he came under intense pressure from Jordan King and Stefan Wackerbauer but repelled both.

Sunday’s action was dry and in qualifying for rounds three and four Josh posted the fifth best time. Starting on the third row, the MSA Academy teenager made another superb getaway and after challenging for fourth on the run to Riches Corner he claimed the place. Then, after a Safety Car period between laps three to six, Josh initially pushed for third before settling for fourth place.

Round four was the undoubted highlight of the weekend, not least the start where he rocketed from fifth on the grid to second place – negotiating the stalled pole position car of namesake Josh Hill. Punching in a series of consistently strong lap times, he comfortably held the runner-up spot throughout and also posted the fourth fastest lap of the race.

“We worked hard and improved more and more throughout the weekend, thanks to all the guys at Mark Burdett Motorsport for their hard work”, he added, “Thanks as well to all my sponsors, especially James Palmer of Nine Telecom and David Marsden of Admiral Managed Networks for their continued support.”

Josh now heads into the last two rounds of the Finals Series this coming Saturday, 12th November, at Rockingham in Northamptonshire just four points shy of second place in the championship.

Qualifying for rounds five and six at the Corby track is scheduled to begin at 09.30 with race one set to follow at 11.05 and race two expected to commence at 13.55. Live timing of the weekend’s action will be available online at www.tsl-timing.com

Provisional 2011 Protyre Formula Renault UK Finals Series Standings (after Rd4):
1st Oliver Rowland, 128pts; 2nd Dan Wells, 90pts; 3rd Josh Webster, 86pts

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.