Formula Renault BARC

Morris Continues Pole Streak At Wet Rockingham

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Seb Morris Put His Fortec Motorsport Machine On Pole-Position Once Again - Photo Credit: Richard Leach


Seb Morris continued his superb start to the 2012 Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship by dominating qualifying at a very treacherous Rockingham, the Fortec Motorsport driver making it five pole positions in a row.

Rainfall throughout the morning left the track slippery for both the day's sessions, with the first morning session getting the worst of the conditions. The opening session was filled with red flags and multiple crashes, with the organisers deciding to abandon the session halfway through, leaving very limited running for the drivers. The second session was able to run in its entirety, with conditions a bit better for the single-seater runners.

Reigning Ginetta Junior champion Morris was able to cope with the conditions best, just like he had in wet qualifying on the opening weekend at Snetterton, securing two more pole positions for his tally and putting him in the ideal position to add to his win at Snetterton.

The main casualty in the opening session was championship leader Josh Webster, a big accident with rookie Ovie Iroro on the banking section ending his session and ruling him out of the second. This leaves the MGR Motorsport man 16th and 28th on the grid for the two races, giving him a tough task to add to his Snetterton win and maintain his title advantage.

Morris' closest challenger in the first session was the other Snetterton race-winner Scott Malvern, the Cliff Dempsey Racing with Cullen Motorsport driver going just 0.194s slower than Morris, before putting himself third on the grid for race two.

The surprise package of the session was Morris' Fortec team-mate Martin Cao. The Chinese driver put himself fourth on the grid for the first race, before stunning his rivals to go second for race two. The other Fortec driver's had mixed sessions, Mexican Diego Menchaca fourteenth in session one before problems left him 27th in session two, while a solid run from Laura Tillett saw her go 23rd and 21st in her second ever car-racing qualifying.

At MGR Motorsport, Jake Dalton and James Fletcher continued their impressive starts to their debut seasons. Dalton took a superb third in the opening session and sixth in the second, while Fletcher also put himself in top six for both, sixth and fourth. Team-mate David Wagner suffered problems in the opening session and was limited to just one lap, leaving him eleventh, though the Scotsman could only go one better in tenth for race two.

Another driver to impress was Chris Middlehurst, the Middlehurst Motorsport with Cliff Dempsey Racing driver putting himself fifth on the grid for the opener and eighth for race two. His American team-mate Trent Hindman also put some solid performances, tenth and ninth for the two races.

Russian ace Ivan Taranov was one of the casualties in the first session, ending up in the gravel trap, however his earlier time was still good enough for seventh, before he improved to go fifth for race two for Antel Motorsport. Raoul Owens went thirteenth and eighteenth for the team, with team-mate Henry Chart twentieth and fourteenth, and Tom Oliphant 27th and 22nd.

This weekend see's four newcomers/returnees to the championship. Leading them was 2011 race-winner Kieran Vernon, the Hillspeed driver putting himself ninth in the opener and seventeenth for race two. Impressing on his first run in UK Formula Renault since 2007 was Joe Ghanem, who went seventeenth and eleventh for Mtech Lite, with his fellow Lebonese team-mate Shahan Sarkissan going 26th and 25th. The final newcomer was RPD Motorsport’s rookie Iroro, who could only manage 28th in the opening session after his accident with Webster, before missing out the second session entirely.

Full results can be found here:

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Simon provides coverage of the support championships for the BTCC, having been a fixture in the TOCA paddock for over six years.
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