Scott Malvern has been crowned the 2012 Protyre Formula Renault BARC champion after taking second place in the final round of the season at Silverstone.
Fortec Motorsport’s Seb Morris took the race win to complete his perfect weekend, taking both pole positions and both race wins, but the focus was on Malvern, with second place being easily enough to secure the title after contact took chief rival Josh Webster out of contention.
Heading into the race, Malvern knew that if he finished ahead of Webster the championship title would be his and the reigning Formula Ford champion made the perfect start, a great launch off the line seeing him gain two spots and slot into second behind Morris.
Macaulay Walsh held third ahead of Chris Middlehurst and Kieran Vernon, with Webster only able to make one position off the start, sitting in sixth position when the safety car was called out at the end of the opening lap, caused by contact at the back of the pack sending Shahan Sarkissian and newcomer Tommy Ostgaard into the Luffield tyre wall.
After a lengthy delay, the action restarted with Webster straight in the thick of the action. Looking to work his way through the field to keep his title hopes alive, the MGR Motorsport driver got caught up in a fierce battle between Walsh and Middlehurst.
The duo came to blows along the Wellington Straight before making contact into Brooklands, with Middlehurst spinning Walsh round, an unfortunate Webster getting caught up and spun round in the process. While Middlehurst’s race was over, Webster and Walsh got back on track, albeit in 20th and 25th positions respectively.
The mix-up promoted Vernon into third ahead of a batting Ivan Taranov and David Wagner, though they were left over two seconds adrift of the front two. This gap was wiped out on lap eighteen though, when the safety car emerged once again this time after series returnee Max Robinson tagged newcomer Matthew Rao, the latter left stranded in the road with a puncture.
By the time the safety car went in once again, there was just a two lap sprint remaining. There were no last gasp drama though, with Morris crossing the line to secure his fifth win of the season, cementing his third place in the final championship standings.
Malvern followed him home to wrap up the championship title, while Vernon ended his season a high with a fourth podium of the campaign. Taranov fended off Wagner to take a career best fourth, on only his first weekend with Scorpio Motorsport, while Jack Dex also picked up a career best finish with sixth.
Michael Epps capped off his best weekend of the season in seventh ahead of MGR Motorsport team-mates Jake Dalton and James Fletcher, while Mexican Jorge Cevallos rounded out the top ten. Webster recovered to finish thirteenth, pulling off some sensational overtaking manoeuvres on his way through the field, while Walsh finished fourteenth on the road, before a five second penalty for exceeding the track limits demoted him to 22nd.
“It feels fantastic,” a delighted Malvern told thecheckeredflag.co.uk. “It’s everything we’ve all worked for all year. Two days before the championship started we didn’t even know we’d be here, so to win it, it’s absolutely fantastic. I can’t thank SDS, Patrick Cullen, all my family and supporters enough, they’ve believed in me all year. It’s just amazing.”
“It’s been a pretty perfect weekend,” commented Morris. “We’re back onto winning form and the car’s been perfect this weekend, all credit to Fortec Motorsport for putting such a great car together. It’s just been a fantastic meeting.”
“To get a podium this weekend, with a front row in qualifying, is pretty much a miracle,” added Vernon. “With no testing coming into the meeting and 32 cars covered by a second, to run at the front and challenge for the podium is brilliant, It’s a big achievement for Hillspeed and myself.”