Hillspeed ace James Theodore took a dominant win in Round 11 of the 2010 Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship at Thruxton. The 18 year old took the lead on the first lap and held onto it throughout to take his third win of the season. Behind, a tough race for Mitchell Hale saw his lead at the top of the championship cut to just four points with one race remaining.
It was Fortec Motorsport's Hale who qualified on pole, with Theodore a mere 0.065 seconds behind in second. Dino Zamparelli put his car third on his return to the series, with Hale's title rival Alice Powell completing row two, despite facing mechanical problems in qualifying.
A solid start by Hale saw him lead into Allard for the first time, but it didn't last long, with Theodore sliding past to take the lead. Hale was to quickly lose another spot, with his quick starting team mate Joseph Reilly moving up from sixth on the grid to take second at the chicane.
Hale's woes were to continue on lap two, with a major lock-up at the chicane on lap two losing him more ground, with Powell, Luke Wright and Zamparelli passing him, dropping him to sixth. The title leader could see his championship lead slipping away, so quickly set about regaining positions, getting past Zamparelli on lap four for fifth.
Leader Theodore was beginning to pull away from Reilly at the front, setting the fastest lap of the race in the process. His lead was to be wiped out soon after though, with the safety car being deployed to recover the stricken car of Jake Rattenbury from the chicane.
Theodore judged the restart well to hold his lead, ahead of Reilly, while there was a change for third. A good restart by Wright saw him get a run of Powell, sliding past at the Complex to take the position. Powell, desperate to cut into Hale's title lead as much as possible, wasn't going to give up the place without a fight though and fought back next time round to regain her spot.
With six laps to go, Reilly began to mount a challenge for the lead. A good run out of Brooklands allowed the 17 year old to edge down the inside of Theodore. The leader defended well though, easing his rival partially onto the grass as he held onto his place.
Behind, championship leader Hale's race was to go from bad to worse. A battle with Zamparelli ended in tears on lap 11, with contact between the two at the complex pitching Hale into a spin. This dropped him to a lowly 12th, potentially a decisive moment in the 2010 championship battle.
As the race reached its conclusion, places were being swapped throughout the top of the order. Zamparelli, who finished third in the championship in 2009, was the man on the move. He followed his move on Hale by passing Wright for fourth, before mounting a charge for a podium place. After being passed by Powell at the Complex, it was Reilly who Zamparelli had to overcome for third. He made his move at the Chicane on the penultimate lap, but once again his move ended in contact, pitching Reilly into a spin, with Zamparelli also losing ground in the incident.
At the front, Theodore was facing no pressure for the lead, cruising home for a solid win. Powell came home second to make it a Hillspeed one-two, with Wright benefiting most from the penultimate lap incident to take his fifth podium of the season in third. Josh Webster moved up to take fourth, with Privateer Cup champion James Birch equalling his best performance of the season in fifth. Zamparelli recovered to sixth, with James Thorp a superb seventh on his debut in the series, ahead of a recovering Hale. Antel Motorsport pair Roman Beregech and Matt Draper completed the top ten, with Reilly ending up eleventh.