Dino Zamparelli confirmed his status as the man to beat in the 2011 Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship, adding to his victory earlier in the day to make it two poles, two wins and two fastest laps for the Antel Motorsport driver at Thruxton, giving him a 19 point lead in the championship standings heading into the final rounds.
The drivers' second best times in morning qualifying set the grid for the day's final race, with Zamparelli on pole once again. Joining him on the front row after a superb performance was MGR Motorsport's Matt Mason, with title rivals Josh Webster and James Thorp on row two. Scorpio Motorsport team-mates Kourosh Khani and Hector Hurst locked out row three.
A good start from Zamparelli saw him getaway ahead, but he came under instant pressure from Mason, who looked to make a move around the outside at Allard, before deciding to slot back into second. A poor start for Thorp saw him drop to sixth, while a strong getaway from Khani saw him take third.
Khani lost the place quickly though when Steven Durrant made a good move around the outside to secure third, leaving Khani under pressure from Webster, who dispatched him on lap two to take fourth. The Fortec driver was soon up to third when he passed Durrant on lap three, but was unable to challenge the front two as they had already broken well clear.
Iranian Khani began a challenge back on Durrant, but was unable to find a way past the RPD Motorsport driver, instead having to settle in fifth. Behind great battles emerged at the lower end of the top ten, with Archie Hamilton and James Thorp scrapping for sixth, while Howard Fuller and David Wagner battled for eighth.
Benefitting from the fighting of those ahead was Hurst, who dropped to tenth early on but fought back and passed both Fuller and Wagner to move into eighth. This put them in the clutches of Antel's Callum Bowyer and when making a move at the final chicane on the penultimate lap, heavy contact between Wagner and Bowyer left both drivers retiring instantly.
At the front, having no such troubles was Zamparelli, who streaked home to take his fourth win of the season, becoming the first driver to take a double win at a meeting this season. Taking second after a comfortable race to pick up his maiden podium was Mason, who became the first rookie to take a top three finish this season, the Nottingham-based driver finished well clear of third place Webster.
Durrant took a strong fourth to cap a good weekend, with Khani finishing fifth ahead of Hamilton and Thorp. Hurst took eighth, with Hillspeed pairing Fuller and Zaamin Jaffer completing the top ten. SWB Motorsport's Jack Dex, Daytona Motorsport's Ivan Taranov, JWA Racing's Tom Walker and Hillspeed's Sean Walkinshaw rounded out the finishers.
Championship leader Zamparelli said: “Double win, double pole, double fastest lap, exactly what I needed. The team did amazing all weekend and the car was spot on. A fantastic result this weekend and we've just got to keep the momentum going and take the championship win come Silverstone.”
A delighted Mason commented: “Absolutely fantastic! It's really good, we had a few issues last time at Croft and we were really far off the pace, but we've come here and been fast since the first session in testing. I got a really good start and got alongside Dino [Zamparelli] at the start, but gave him a bit of room and then stuck behind him for the rest of the race.”
Webster, slightly dejected despite two podium finishes, added: “There's two ways to look at the weekend, I didn't come here to come third but then I wouldn't want a DNF. My start let me down a bit, I bogged down and that ended my race there and then. I went down to fifth, battled my way up third and am pretty happy with my racing, but it's not ideal regarding the points.”
Provisional Championship Standings After Round Ten (of Twelve):
- Dino Zamparelli – 243 points
- Josh Webster – 224 points
- James Thorp – 213 points
- Kourosh Khani – 184 points
- Archie Hamilton – 168 points
- Kieran Vernon – 149 points
- Matt Mason – 142 points
- Steve Durrant – 135 points