A brace of hard-earned podium finishes during Rounds Nine and Ten of the Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship at Thruxton has kept Fortec Motorsport's Josh Webster in contention for the 2011 title ahead of the series final rounds at Silverstone.
Webster, who recently received the honour of being invited into the prestigious British Racing Driver's Club (BRDC) as one of its latest 'Rising Stars', starting the day's action with a disappointing qualifying session, which saw him miss out on getting the essential 'tow' required for a top lap time, leaving him fourth and third for the two races.
With 35 guests and sponsors cheering him on trackside, Webster hoped to challenge for the win in the opening race, but a clutch problem meant a slow start dropped him to sixth at the start. The 17 year old fought back to fifth at the start of the first lap, gained another place on the next lap and then set about working his way onto the podium, which he did so on the final racing lap before the race was red-flagged early.
Another poor start for the Nine Telecom Group, Admiral Group, Integra ICT, Sunwise, Melbek Technology, Everyone Active and Flying Saucer-backed driver at the start of race two saw him drop to fifth, but another good recovery saw him into third by the end of lap four, which he held until the end for another solid points haul.
The Suffolk-based racer commented: “I want to win every time I go out but two thirds have definitely kept the championship alive for us. I am disappointed we couldn't take a win this weekend, we didn't have the pace I expected, but finishing on the podium twice isn't a disaster at all. Plus I've been invited to be a BRDC Rising Star which is a massive honour, I'm really proud to be part of the club.
“I did struggle with the starts, each time I was mobbed into the chicane and dropped to fifth or sixth so I had to race quite hard to get back onto the podium. We later found out there was a problem with the clutch though. We're looking ahead to Silverstone now, it's one of my favourite tracks and I know we can still win the championship from here – so that's what I'm going out to try and do.”
Josh's sixth and seventh podiums of the year sets the scene for a titanic championship battle at the final rounds of the season at Silverstone in six weeks time. In order to take the title, Webster will need to overturn a nineteen point deficit to series leader Dino Zamparelli, having had two retirements this season compared to Zamparelli's one.