BRDC Rising Star Josh Webster narrowly missed on taking the 2011 Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship title, despite taking a double podium finish in the final rounds of the season at Silverstone, which included his third win of the season.
17 year old Webster headed into the weekend nineteen points adrift of Dino Zamparelli at the top of the championship standings, knowing a huge weekend was needed to secure the title. The Suffolk-based racer gave himself the best chance of overturning the deficit during qualifying, sticking himself on the front row for both races, including pole for the first encounter.
A tremendous start to the first race saw him take the lead and after fending off initial pressure from team-mate Archie Hamilton, Josh drove into the distance to take the win by four second, while also importantly taking two further bonus championship points for the races fastest lap.
With ten points now separating him from title glory, Webster headed into the second race looking to win again. Starting second, a great start saw him into the lead at the first bend, but pole-sitter Matt Mason fought back to regain the place at the next bend.
Piling pressure onto the leader lap after lap, Webster searched for an opening to retake the lead, but was unable to find one. Midway through the race, the championship was his with Zamparelli sixth in the race, but by the end he had worked his way up to third and snatched the title away from Josh.
Webster couldn't give anymore and ended the year as vice-champion, with three wins to his name and nine podium from the first ten races. He also had four fastest laps and two pole positions in his account.
Webster said: “Being at a points disadvantage due to having had two non-finishes, compared to Dino’s one, made it tough but it was good to take it down to the wire. It just didn't come to us this time but congratulations to Dino and Antel, they've been quick all year. I'm just looking forward to next year now, hopefully we can get the budget to be racing – my sponsors this year have been fantastic.
“I have to say a huge thank you to Nine Telecom, Admiral Group, Integra ICT, Sunwise, Melbek Technology, Everyone Active and Flying Saucer. Thanks to the guys at Fortec for their hard work and to my mum, dad and sisters Leah and Fern – without their support I wouldn't be racing at all. For this weekend in particular, thanks to Mike Rockall and Whittlebury Hall for their fantastic hospitality.
“The championship has been so competitive this year and to come into the final round with 10 points between us, it shows how close we are. We both wanted it just as much as each other, in the end he just managed to pip me but I'm pleased we've put on a good show this year.”