Macaulay Walsh has ended his first full-season in the Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship in sixth place after a battling display in the final rounds of the season at Silverstone.
Walsh’s pace was without question throughout the weekend, however troubles in qualifying and the races transpired to stop the 17 year old scoring the home podium his speed deserved.
A disconnected fuel pipe in qualifying was his first issue, forcing to sit out the majority of the first session to leave him 32nd on the grid for the opening race. With the pipe re-connected, Walsh was able to show his pace in the second session, going third fastest, just 0.083s off a first ever pole position.
Starting dead last for the opener didn’t faze Walsh, the Bodymek Ltd, Adrian Bibby Creative Design and Itchy Feet Motorhomes-supported racer producing one of the championship’s drives of the season to carve his way through the field into tenth place at the finish.
“Second qualifying was OK, but if I’d hooked the lap up properly I should have been on pole”, said Macaulay, “Obviously the first race was going to be tough but coming through from 32nd to 10th was pretty good – it’s just disappointing we had the problem in first qualifying otherwise we could have been right up there fighting for the podium.”
Hopes were high for a podium challenge in the live televised final race of the season, however it all went wrong on lap eight when he was unceremoniously hit from behind going into Brooklands while running in third place. He was able to recover onto the track and re-gain an incredible eleven positions, before he was served a five second time penalty for exceeding track limits, dropping him to a 22nd place finish.
“I didn’t get too much of a good start in race two”, explained the rookie, “I dropped to fourth but got back up to third, then I made a little mistake at Becketts which was the start of everything going from good to bad! When I got hit it was classed a racing incident which I was surprised by. It’s not the weekend we wanted to end the season with, but we know we had the pace for a lot more.”