Josh Webster has closed the gap to Scott Malvern at the top of the 2012 Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship standings after taking victory in Round Ten at Donington Park, with just one point now seperating them with four races remaining.
In the first race of a triple header meeting, the penultimate one of the year, Webster led Malvern from lights to flag to his fifth win of the season, with Chris Middlehurst taking third to secure a first ever series podium.
MGR Motorsport’s Webster began the race from pole and a great start saw him lead away from Malvern, with Seb Morris and Kieran Vernon working their way past David Wagner into third and fourth respectively. Vernon soon found his way past Morris later in the lap; while Wagner went on to lose further ground to Middlehurst and Jake Dalton.
There was trouble behind as Hongwei Cao, Joe Ghanem and series newcomer Falco Wauer came together at Redgate at the start of lap two. Whilst Cao and Ghanem were able to continue at the back, Cliff Dempsey Racing’s Wauer was stuck in the gravel trap, though fortunately a swift recovery of his car meant the safety car was not needed.
As Webster and Malvern broke away at the front, a tight battle emerged for sixth between Dalton, Wagner and Scorpio Motorsport’s Macaulay Walsh. Wagner got back ahead of his MGR team-mate Dalton on lap four, but would fall behind both Dalton and Walsh two laps later, with Walsh getting ahead of Dalton on lap eight.
Ahead, Morris was coming under pressure from Middlehurst, forcing him to go on the offensive. The Fortec Motorsport star tried to slide down the inside of Vernon at Redgate on lap nine, but misjudged the move and hit the side of the Hillspeed driver, spinning both drivers round.
While Vernon managed to keep it on track and slot back on track in sixth behind Middlehurst, Walsh and Dalton, Morris ended up in the gravel, ending his race and any chance he had left of fighting for the title.
At the front, Webster had been followed closely by Malvern over the first nine laps, the Cullen Motorsport driver keeping within half a second throughout, but as the race reached its conclusion, Webster was able to edge away and take the win by nearly two seconds.
Malvern secured his seventh podium of the year in second, with Middlehurst third. Walsh took fourth after a great drive through from tenth on the grid, with Dalton fifth ahead of Vernon, Wagner and James Fletcher.
A season’s best ninth was Michael Epps, with Jacob Nortoft a strong tenth for Hillspeed. Diego Menchaca finished eleventh, the Mexican ending up as the only Fortec Motorsports entrant to finish, with his team-mates Cao and Laura Tillett joining Morris on the retirement list. Also not reaching the finish were Ivan Taranov and Jorge Cevallos after they span into the gravel at the final chicane after contact.
Full race results can be found here: http://www.tsl-timing.com/barc/2012/123322bfr.pdf