Dino Zamparelli took the win in Round Eight of the 2011 Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship at Croft to move himself into the championship lead for the first time this season. The Antel Motorsport driver holds a one point lead over Josh Webster, who took second in the race.
Webster nearly didn't start the race after his big crash in Round Seven left the Fortec Motorsport team with a race against time to get his car repaired in time. Fortunately, with some help from SWB Motorsport, the team got the car finished with ten minutes to spare, allowing Webster to take his place on pole position.
A good start saw Webster lead initially on the run to Clervaux, but a determined Zamparelli shot to the outside and pulled off a stunning move at the opening corner to storm into the lead. Webster slotted into second ahead of team-mates Archie Hamilton and Kieran Vernon, who moved up places after a slow start for Round Seven winner James Thorp.
Thorp ran in fifth for the opening few corners, but lost another place at Tower to MGR Motorsport's Luke Wright. Mtech Lite's Thorp then came under pressure from Scorpio Motorsport's Kourosh Khani, who had nipped past team-mate Hector Hurst on the opening lap. Khani made his way past at Tower on lap two and instantly got onto the back of Wright, getting alongside him at Tower on lap three, before making the move stick at the Esses to take fifth.
At the front, Zamparelli began to edge away from Webster as the front two broke away from Hamilton behind. Vernon ran in a lonely fourth, with Khani sitting comfortably in fifth. Wright held sixth, but soon came under pressure from a resurgent Thorp, who looked to make amends for a poor first couple of laps. The Mtech Lite driver gained the place at the Hairpin on lap six.
Making a move behind was Callum Bowyer, the Antel Motorsport driver passing Victor Jiminez at the Hairpin on lap eight for ninth, before turning his attentions to Hurst. He closed the gap quickly, with Hurst suffering from a bent steering arm, getting past with a tough move at the Hairpin on lap nine to take eighth.
Ahead, his team-mate Zamparelli was cruising home to take his second victory of the season ahead of Webster and Hamilton, the latter picking up his fourth third place finish of the year. Vernon took fourth ahead of Khani, Thorp, Wright, Bowyer and Hurst. MGR's David Wagner emerged from a superb five car battle to take tenth ahead of Jack Dex and Howard Fuller, the lead SWB and Hillspeed finishers respectively.
Zamparelli said: “I got the perfect launch and knew that I just had to go for the move. I knew he had fresher tyres than me, so I knew I had to do something there and then and I did it. I had to be conservative but also push hard throughout, he was catching me by a tenth a lap towards the end, but by then the damage was done and it was a good race win.”
Webster commented: “I'm a bit frustrated with the result, as I feel I could have just braked a little bit later at the first corner and held him so he didn't go around the outside, but then I'm not, as we might not have made it out at all and got a DNF. It was a fantastic job by Fortec and SWB to fix it.”
Hamilton added: “I'm getting a bit bored of these third places now, but I've just got to take the points. After the first race, I'm happy with just getting on the podium and it feels a little bit like a win, just to repay the team after all their hard work. I'm really pleased to have a 100% podium record at every race meeting.”
Provisional Championship Standings After Round Eight (Incl. Drops):
- Dino Zamparelli 175pts
- Josh Webster 174pts
- James Thorp 158pts
- Kourosh Khani 152pts
- Archie Hamilton 150pts
- Kieran Vernon 145pts