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Tag: Macaulay Walsh

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.

Macaulay Walsh - ThruxtonScorpio Motorsport’s Macaulay Walsh delivered a sensational performance at Thruxton Circuit on Sunday, 17th June, by scorching to his second Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship podium of the season on his first ever visit to the challenging 2.35-mile Hampshire venue.

Northampton-based Macaulay, in only his first full season of single-seater racing, took no time at all to get up to speed and although qualifying didn’t go fully to plan, he sliced through from 12th on the grid into fifth place in round six before climbing the podium, from eighth on the grid, in round seven.

Securing a total of 45 points from the third event of the campaign, the 17-year-old consolidated his top four placing in the series standings and actually opened up an increased 23 point advantage over his closest rival.

“It’s fantastic to get back on the podium, we had two good races this weekend and although we didn’t quite get qualifying right, we got too much traffic to do a proper lap, it’s still worked out pretty well”, said the Mike Craig Electrical Products Limited and Piers Sexton-supported driver, “I’m really pleased with how well things are going, the team’s doing a great job.”

Despite having never been to Thruxton prior to this weekend, Macaulay was instantly on the pace in the short 15-minute practice to post the third fastest time behind experienced racers Scott Malvern and Josh Webster.

With confidence high for a similar performance in qualifying, a decision to hold back and push for times later in the session when the track’s grip was at its best didn’t pay off unfortunately when the Scorpio driver continually found his laps compromised by traffic.

Therefore lining up an uncharacteristic 12th for the first race, Macaulay produced a superb opening lap to climb into the top eight and then took sixth soon after to show what might have been possible had he started on the first couple of rows. Climbing into fifth on lap six, the Northampton racer pushed hard all the way to the finish – posting his best lap of 1m14.310 seconds on the final tour.

Starting an improved eighth on the grid for round seven, the youngster again made an excellent start to move immediately into the top five prior to the appearance of the Safety Car for several laps due to an early multi-car incident. At the re-start, Macaulay applied huge pressure to Jake Dalton and he made the breakthrough on the ninth tour to move into fourth.

Then, on lap 14, he gladly took third at the expense of former leader Malvern who dropped back after he and Webster got a little too close for comfort into the chicane. Maintaining third for the last couple of laps, Macaulay’s pace was continually strong and his fastest lap was again hugely impressive, a time of 1m13.912 seconds just 0.15 seconds shy of race winner Webster’s best.

Macaulay will be back in action in his Protyre Formula Renault BARC FR 2.0 car during the fourth event of the season, rounds eight and nine, which will take place at Croft Circuit in North Yorkshire on 21st/22nd July.

Provisional 2012 Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship Driver Standings (after Rd7):
1st Scott Malvern, 182pts; 4th Macaulay Walsh, 140pts

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.

Macaulay Walsh - RockinghamProtyre Formula Renault BARC Championship racer Macaulay Walsh continued his impressively strong start to the season at Rockingham near Corby over the weekend, 19th/20th May, by climbing into fourth place in the series standings and closing to within just four points of the top three.

Round four was the highlight of the weekend for the Northampton teenager, an excellent fifth place finish from eighth on the grid. In round five though, significant damage to the front of his FR 2.0 car – a legacy of contact on lap 13 while dicing for fourth position – made for a difficult final few laps, but Macaulay worked wonders to salvage a solid top 10 finish.

Qualifying on Saturday started in very wet and rainy conditions and the resulting red flag stoppages were almost inevitable. Macaulay was one of the drivers worst affected by the interruptions as each time he was on a lap capable of a top three grid slot, the session was curtailed.

Frustrated to line-up on row four of the grid for the opening race, round four, the 17-year-old made a great start and moved into the top six before taking fifth at Deene Hairpin on lap two. Following a short Safety Car interlude between laps seven and nine, Macaulay set about challenging Jake Dalton for fourth but also had to be mindful of an attack from series returnee Kieran Vernon.

As Dalton defended heavily at each corner, so Macaulay was backed-up into the clutches of the vastly more experienced Vernon. With five laps to go, he was unfortunately usurped but both drivers did get by Dalton so Macaulay ended the race fifth and with 20 points to add to his total.

Planning a potential podium challenge in round five, despite starting seventh on the grid, the Mike Craig Electrical Products Limited and Piers Sexton-backed racer almost made it happen but contact during the closing stages wrecked his hopes.

Running in fifth place into lap nine, the Scorpio Motorsport driver started to apply heavy pressure to Ivan Taranov ahead and after being heavily rebuffed for several laps he saw his chance into Deene on lap 13.

“He [Taranov] was defending, I gave him room and then he moved back across so I thought I could go for a move on him into the hairpin but he shut the door again”, explained Macaulay, “I had nowhere to go, went over the back of his car and it damaged the top wishbone, bottom wishbone, pushrod and I lost half of my front wing…so it was quite a struggle from then on!”

Somehow managing to keep his car circulating at a fairly competitive pace, Macaulay did slip down the order but just managed to see off Raoul Owens on the final lap to claim 10th position by a mere 0.1 seconds.

“I’m pleased to be in the championship top four but it’s not been a great weekend”, he added, “In testing we weren’t all that fast and in qualifying we knew we could have been much better but all the red flags ruined that. The first race was good, but I wanted better than fifth really.

“In race two, I got dropped back to 10th at turn two where there was a little incident but I came back through to fifth, chasing Taranov, and when I saw [James] Fletcher make a mistake ahead I thought I could maybe get a podium. Unfortunately it all went wrong then pretty quickly but we’ve still come out of it ok championship wise.”

Rounds six and seven of the 2012 Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship will take place four weeks from now on Sunday 17th June, at the ultra-fast Thruxton Circuit in Hampshire. The event will mark Macaulay’s first ever visit to the hugely challenging track.

Provisional 2012 Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship Driver Standings (after Rd5):
1st Seb Morris, 140pts; 4th Macaulay Walsh, 95pts

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.

Macaulay Walsh - Formula Renault BARCNorthampton racing driver Macaulay Walsh starred at Snetterton 200 Circuit in Norfolk over the Easter weekend, 7th/8th April, by achieving his maiden car racing podium during the opening round of the fiercely competitive 2012 Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship.

While the top three finish in race one marked an outstanding start to the season for the 17-year-old, just as noteworthy was the fact it was the Scorpio Motorsport driver’s first ever visit to the East Anglia race track and his maiden experience of wet-weather competition.

With the addition of a seventh place in round two and a top four result in round three, Macaulay rounded-out the first weekend of the 14-race season an outstanding fifth in the championship table, a mere six points shy of the coveted top three.

Earlier impressing with the sixth fastest time out of 25 drivers in the damp round one qualifying session on Saturday morning, the Northamptonshire teenager also went on to snare further top six starting slots for races two and three.

Having only been able to complete half a season in Protyre Formula Renault BARC last year due to budgetary constraints, this season is Macaulay’s first true crack at car racing off the back of a highly successful karting career at British and European level.

With Protyre Formula Renault BARC now regarded as the most popular and competitive of the UK’s junior single-seater championships, a true springboard to Formula 3 and Formula 2, Macaulay’s top performances at the weekend mark him out as a genuine talent in the making.

“Considering how last season went for us, I’m very happy to start the championship with such a strong race”, he said, “To qualify sixth in the wet, on my first time at the track and the first time in a car in those conditions, was great and that gave me a lot of confidence for the races.

“The guys at Scorpio gave me a fantastic car and I learnt so much, to start the year so strongly feels really good and we can go to the next round at Rockingham knowing we’re competitive. I really want to thank the team for doing such a great job and also Mike Craig Electrical Products Limited and Piers Sexton at PSR for their fantastic support.”

Round one was clearly the pick of the races for Macaulay and he made a good start, instantly taking fifth position. After a mistake for the race leader, the Scorpio driver moved into fourth before reeling in and applying pressure to third placed David Wagner. Macaulay then gained another spot on lap 12 when two-time McLaren Autosport BRDC Award finalist Scott Malvern encountered gearbox issues.

Relentlessly piling on the pressure to Wagner in what was then a fight for second rather than third, Macaulay threatened for the runner-up spot during the closing stages and took the chequered flag on lap 15 a mere 0.6 seconds shy of Wagner. His best lap time, meanwhile, of 1m11.203 seconds was only 0.3 seconds shy of the quickest of the entire race.

In round two, Macaulay again took fifth early on but was shuffled back to seventh at the re-start following a five lap Safety Car period. All over the back of Ivan Taranov’s sixth placed car during the last few laps, he crossed the line on lap 18 in almost a dead-heat with Taranov and James Fletcher.

While the second race was dry, round three required the use of wet tyres again with rainfall prior to the start leaving the surface the trickiest it had been the entire weekend. Moving up from sixth to fifth straight away due to a stall for the pole-sitter, Macaulay enjoyed an incredibly close battle for fourth throughout the race and after taking the place on lap eight, he remained there to the flag.

Reflecting on Macaulay’s sensational first weekend with Scorpio Motorsport, team principal Jon Pettitt said: “He did an exceptional job and I can’t stress enough how impressive Macaulay was when you take into account he’d never even seen Snetterton before. We know how talented he is but to go out, right in at the deep end with no testing, and do what he did this weekend was superb.

“What I’m really impressed with about Macaulay is he’s a true no-frills driver, he just goes out there and drives the car as quick as he can. It’s an incredibly competitive and tough championship, harder than ever this season, but we know Macaulay is going to come on really strong during the year and be a consistent threat.”

Rockingham in Northamptonshire will host the next event of the 2012 Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship, rounds four and five, over the weekend 19th/20th May.

Provisional 2012 Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship Driver Standings (after Rd3):
1st Josh Webster, 88pts; 5th Macaulay Walsh, 63pts

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.