Kourosh Khani has written his name into the Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship history books with victory in Round Six of the 2011 season at Oulton Park, becoming the first Iranian driver to win a race in the single seater series.
It was Antel Motorsport's Dino Zamparelli who started the race from pole, but a poor start dropped him down to sixth. Fellow front row starter Josh Webster took the lead, while a great start for Scorpio Motorsport's Khani moved him into second, ahead of Fortec Motorsport's Archie Hamilton.
An early move for fourth place saw Kieran Vernon slide past James Theodore, making his first appearance of the season at Oulton, at Knickerbrook, but by the end of the opening lap, Zamparelli had worked his way into fourth as he looked to make up for his slow start.
Webster began to build a gap at the front, with Khani a comfortable second ahead of Hamilton, who was beginning to get caught by Zamparelli. Their progress was stopped however when the red flags came out after a huge three car accident under the Warwick Bridge, ending the races of Sean Walkinshaw, Ivan Taranov and Raoul Owens.
The race was restarted with the drivers in the positions they were holding before the red flag, with a new six lap duration. This gave Webster pole, but a superb start by Khani saw him dive into the lead, with Webster leading team-mate Hamilton and Zamparelli.
Khani got into a rhythm and began pulling a small advantage at the front, with Webster a comfortable second. Hamilton held third, but was awarded a drive through penalty after jump starting the restart, promoting Zamparelli into third. There was no such luck for his team-mate Callum Bowyer though, after contact with James Thorp on the start finish straight sendt him into the wall and out of the race.
At the front, Khani controlled the race and crossed the line for his first ever Formula Renault BARC win and his second podium of the season. Webster held off a late charge from the Zamparelli to take second, the duo taking their fourth and second podiums of the season respectively.
Vernon took another strong finish in fourth, ahead of Mtech Lite's Theodore. MGR Motorsport's Matt Mason and SWB Motorsport's Macaulay Walsh were next up, both taking their best results of the season so far. Eighth on the road was Mtech's Thorp, however he was later excluded from the race for the Bowyer incident, gifting the position to a recovering Hamilton. Hillspeed duo Zaamin Jaffer and Howard Fuller completed the top ten.
A delighted Khani said: “I'm very happy with that. At the restart, I got a really good start and got away from Josh [Webster], making sure it was a clean move. Once I got past, I put my head down and did some consistently quick laps, pulling away from the guys behind.
“That was a very good race, I enjoyed it and the car was very consistent, the team have done a great job maintaining the car through testing, qualifying and races. Also my driver coach Kieren [Clark] has been very helpful, all the boys have helped me achieve this. People always say the first win is the most difficult and I'm positive that more will come.”
Championship leader Webster commented: “Solid. Obviously I wanted to duplicate my win from earlier, so I'm a little bit disappointed. At one point I had a really commanding lead, so to go from that to second is disappointing, but it's how it goes, you can't control when red flags come out.
“Kourosh did a good job, got the start off the line and I bogged down, so second it was. I had to fend off from Dino [Zamparelli] and at the end it was a matter of championship. It's better for Kourosh to win it than Dino, so I'm happy.”
Zamparelli added: “It's a happy relief, as it's just frustrating to have two very quick poles and not quite get the starts, which have let me down four times today. The thing is it's an obvious flaw, we got the fastest lap, we got the pole position, so we know we've got the pace and the racecraft, it's just literally about the starts. If we can get them sorted, we'll be away.”
Photo Credit: Jakob Ebrey Photography