A hugely exciting 2011 Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship season is set to reach a thrilling conclusion this weekend when Dino Zamparelli, Josh Webster and James Thorp fight it out for title glory in the final two races at Silverstone.
The club-level championship will be enjoying its biggest weekend of the campaign as it joins the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship package, meaning the championship protagonists will be battling in front of huge trackside audiences and live on ITV4.
Zamparelli heads to Silverstone in pole position to secure the title after a tremendous performance last time out at Thruxton, the Antel Motorsport driver dominating the whole weekend to take two wins, making it three in a row for him now. Zamparelli holds a 19 point advantage at the top, but knows he will still need a strong weekend at Silverstone to ensure the title is his and has the advantage of winning championships like this before, having taken the 2008 Ginetta Junior Championship at the final weekend.
Fortec Motorsport's Webster remains in contention for the championship after a double podium finish at Thruxton, but will be needing a large points haul at Silverstone, and some misfortune for Zamparelli, to take the championship. The Suffolk-based racer has had a great season, finishing off the podium just once in the eight races he's finished, meaning he could be left to rue the one extra retirement he's picked up this campaign compared to the championship leader.
The title contender with the most work to do is Thorp, the Mtech Lite driver being the only frontrunner affected by the series' drop score ruling, meaning he will have to drop eleven points, leaving him 41 points adrift of the top. Impressive all campaign, the Mtech Lite driver has taken two wins, but a couple of tough races and an exclusion at Oulton Park look set to cost him dear.
Behind the front three, the fight is on for fourth in the championship between Kourosh Khani and Archie Hamilton. Both drivers headed into the last rounds at Thruxton still in the title fight, but slipped away from contention after poor weekends. Scorpio Motorsport's Khani holds a sixteen point lead over Fortec Motorsport's Hamilton and will be looking to add to his win from Oulton Park earlier in the year to end the season on a high, while Hamilton will be aiming to take his first win of a frustrating campaign.
With Kieran Vernon, sitting sixth in the standings, no longer competing in the series having switched to the Porsche Carrera Cup GB, its Matt Mason who sits as best of the rest after a strong maiden car racing season. The MGR Motorsport driver has steadily improved over the year and last time out stormed to a first ever podium finish, which he will be hoping to replicate at Silverstone to grab a top six points finish.
Close behind Mason is RPD Motorsport's Steven Durrant, who heads to Silverstone hoping to build on a strong performance at Thruxton, where he took two top five finishes, the experienced privateer returning to the sort of pace he showed at the start of the campaign.
Behind, five Formula Renault rookies are fighting it out for two remaining top ten places in the championship standings. Currently holding the places are Howard Fuller and Zammin Jaffer, both racing for defending champions Hillspeed. The duo have both had tough seasons, not being able to use their previous experience in Formula Palmer Audi and Formula Ford respectively to challenge at the front as expected in pre-season.
Hot on their heels are David Wagner, Callum Bowyer and Hector Hurst, the trio all competing in their first season of car racing. All three have had strong maiden campaigns, all taking top six finishes, though the latter Hurst is sitting much further down the standings than his pace has deserved. The Scorpio Motorsport driver has had a terrible run of bad luck this campaign, being taken out of races whilst in promising positions on more than one occasion.
Joining the bumper Formula Renault BARC grid for the final rounds is James Theodore, making his second appearance of the season. After racing with Mtech Lite at Oulton Park, taking a best result of fifth, the 19 year old returns to the series for the final rounds with Fortec Motorsport. Also joining the field for his maiden Formula Renault BARC meeting will be Anton Spires, the former InterSteps driver stepping up with KG Motorsport.
*Check out The Checkered Flag over the next few days for interviews with Dino Zamparelli, Josh Webster and James Thorp ahead of the trio's title fight at Silverstone
Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship Standings (After Rd. 10 of 12 – incl. drops):
- Dino Zamparelli – 243 points
- Josh Webster – 224 points
- James Thorp – 202 points
- Kourosh Khani – 184 points
- Archie Hamilton – 168 points
- Kieran Vernon – 149 points
- Matt Mason – 142 points
- Steven Durrant – 135 points
- Howard Fuller – 118 points
- Zaamin Jaffer – 105 points
- David Wagner – 93 points
- Callum Bowyer – 89 points
- Hector Hurst – 82 points
- Jack Dex – 68 points
- Ivan Taranov – 67 points