Hector Hurst ended his first season in car racing with a hugely positive weekend in the final rounds of the 2011 Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship, the Scorpio Motorsport driver taking two top ten finishes at Silverstone.
After strong runs in testing on Wednesday and Friday, where Hurst was consistently in the top two on the timesheets, there were high hopes for a great performance in qualifying. Hurst was let down by the championships officials though, who didn't clamp down on drivers running off circuit at Copse, a move which would gain his rivals a considerable amount of time over Hurst, who would follow the rules and stay within the track boundaries. With nearly all his rivals gaining this time, Hurst was only able to qualify a frustrating sixth and seventh.
Hurst explained: “Testing was very good. We've been working in a new direction since Wednesday with the set up, a very aggressive direction and it's been working really well. We were right at the front, in the top two, all the time. Come qualifying, there was a very controversial decision by the stewards to not enforce any track limits for the first turn. There was me and about two other drivers that decided to keep within the rulebook and that hampered us in the end, so I ended up qualifying sixth and seventh.”
The opening race saw Hurst running in seventh place, before being promoted to sixth when a rival finally received a drive through penalty for exceeding the track limits at the first turn. Hurst crossed the line in that position, before being promoted to fifth when his team-mate was excluded post-race, giving him his second top five finish of his maiden season. The second race Boldre-Estates backed Hurst involved in a superb five car battle over fourth place, with him ending up in eighth place to complete a solid points haul from the weekend.
Hurst reflected: “In the first race, I made a good start and had a few good battles. It was sort of a processional race after the first two laps, but it was good as we got another top five finish and we learnt a lot about the car and how to develop it for the next race. We made a couple of small changes to the car for race two, which were definitely the way to go for the start of the race, but after the first eight laps, I felt I needed another one or two tenths to really make the progress I wanted to.
“There was five of us having a big scrap the whole way through the race and positions kept changing, unfortunately I didn't have that last little bit of pace to push at the end, so came back in eighth. It wasn't a complete disaster, but not the podium I was hoping to end the year with. It's good to get a good points haul from both races, something we've not managed to put together all year, so to get two exciting races, with lots of overtaking, relatively near the front, with good pace and an enjoyable set up, was definitely a good way to end the year.”
Hurst ends a tough maiden season thirteenth in the championship standings, though is in positive mood heading into the winter and the 2012 season after showing consistent top five pace throughout the year.