Josh Webster endured a luckless weekend during Rounds Four and Five of the 2012 Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship at Rockingham, the Stowmarket-based racer suffering a huge qualifying crash and some misfortune in the races.
Arriving at the Corby venue with a 14 point championship lead, having taken one win and two other podiums during the season-opening race meeting at Snetterton in early April, the 18-year-old had realistic hopes of continuing his excellent start to the campaign.
Arriving at the Corby track with a fourteen point championship lead after the opening weekend, the 18 year old was hoping to continue his excellent start to the campaign at Rockingham. The weekend started to unravel for the MSA Team UK racer with the qualifying crash.
In the opening session, Webster tried to avoid a spinning car at the high-speed turn one, but with nowhere to go, the BRDC Rising Star made heavy contact with the side of the spinning car, almost writing off his MGR Motorsport FR 2.0 car. This forced Webster to miss the second session, leaving him an uncharacteristic 16th and 28th on the grid for the two races.
Despite front wing damage, Webster made some good early progress in the opening race, moving up to eleventh by lap four. Following a short safety car period, Webster broke into the top ten, however as his wing problem led to more severe understeer in the final few laps, Webster fell back to thirteenth place at the finish.
A sensational start to Round Five saw Webster managed to climb twelve places on the opening lap alone, before gaining two more to reach fourteenth by lap three, meaning he had overtaken half the 28 car field by the third lap.
Soon after though, he was hit from behind under braking for the Tarzan hairpin, relegating him back to the tail of the field. A strong recovery drive saw him finish in twentieth to get some championship points, however with his race pace being just 0.4 seconds behind that of the race winner; it was a real case of what might have been for Webster.
The Nine Group, Admiral Solutions & Support and Integra ICT-backed Webster said: “It all spiralled off from the crash in qualifying, it was a really big shunt and the team did an amazing job to get the car back together. The bad luck didn't end there though. In the first race we had a problem with the front-wing detaching itself right from the start of the race, so I had monumental understeer which worsened throughout the race making it almost impossible to drive.
“In the second race I'd had an awesome first three laps, making up 14 places, but into Tarzan someone just smashed into me and I had to wait for everyone else to go by before I could spin the car round. It's been an awful, awful weekend but you still have to take away the positives – at least we scored some points!
“The team did a fantastic job, massive thanks to Peter my engineer, Mark my mechanic and everyone else at the team for their hard work. It's really gutting to have lost the championship lead through no fault of our own, but at least we took a few points and can maybe use one of these races as our drop score at the end of the year. We need to focus now on bouncing back at the next round.”