Formula Renault UK rookie Josh Webster concluded the 2011 Protyre Formula Renault 2.0 UK Finals Series with two strong drives at Rockingham to end the series a terrific third in the championship standings.
The 17 year old heading to Rockingham in confident mood after securing a sensational podium finish the weekend before at Snetterton. The Mark Burdett Motorsport driver topped the timesheets in the third of the official test sessions, but tricky conditions in qualifying meant he wasn't quite able to replicate those results.
Webster made a great start to the day's first race, gaining five places to reach the top five by the end of the opening lap, before a short safety car period. At the restart, a small mistake under braking caused him to run too deep into Deene Hairpin, dropping him to tenth. Webster fought back one place to finish ninth at the flag.
Holding fourth in the championship heading into the final race, Webster knew he had to perform well to reclaim third in the points. He did just that, gaining a place on the opening lap to take sixth, before gaining another spot just after a brief safety car period. A tough race saw him have to deal with two additional safety car interludes, but he coped well and nearly took fourth, before settling for fifth at the finish.
It was enough to see Webster hold off Red Bull-backed competitor Daniil Kvyat by seven points to take third in the standings, ending the series as comfortably the best placed newcomer. Added to his vice-champion status in the Formula Renault BARC series this year, it marks Webster out as one to watch in the main Formula Renault UK season next year.
Webster said: “It's really good getting third in the points, I'm so happy we managed to achieve it against such tough and experienced competition with just a few days in the car. The field in the Finals Series this year has been unbelievably strong, especially with the guys who came over from Europe, but we did a great job.
“Massive thanks to Mark Burdett, Andy, Robbie and Jack at the team for all their hard work. As always, a huge thank you as well to my sponsors, especially James Palmer of Nine Telecom and Graham and David of Admiral Managed Networks.”