Protyre Formula Renault BARC front-runner Michael Epps had a weekend of highs and lows in the opening rounds of the 2012 Winter Series at Brands Hatch.

Heading into the weekend full of confidence after a fourth place finish in the final round of the main championship at Silverstone, Epps he took well to the ‘awesome’ GP circuit.

Qualifying eighth for the opener, Epps made a great launch and gained two places on the first lap, before quickly moving up fifth. Chasing down the fourth place car, Epps benefited from a mistake from the leader Matt Mason to move up to fourth and he looked to challenge for a podium finish, though a slow front left puncture caused by a leaking valve hampered his charge, leading him fourth.

In front of 30,000 fans trackside and live on ITV4, Epps launched well from seventh on the grid but got boxed in, holding him in position for the first few corners until an accident ahead gained him two places.

A mistake for leader Seb Morris promoted him to fourth and the Core Motorsport driver looked set to finish there until on the final lap, he lost all drive coming out of Druids, a driveshaft failure causing retirement.

“I’m gutted by the result, but I think it’s fair to say that we put in a great performance,” said Epps, who would have been fifth in the standings without the DNF. “We were strong in dry weather, and getting closer and closer in the wet. It’s definitely the strongest weekend I’ve had so far in this class. Now on to Rockingham where I think a spot of damage limitation may take place.”