A hard-fought maiden win for Jack Aitken was not enough to win him the 2012 Protyre Formula Renault BARC Winter Series with Michelin, with fourth place on the road enough to confirm Seb Morris as champion.
In a tense final encounter in the four-race series, Aitken just fended off a hard charging Matthew Brabham for the win, however with Brabham not collecting championship points, Morris collected the points tally for third and therefore took the title by just one point from Aitken.
Morris started the race from pole position however a sluggish start for the BRDC Rising Star meant fellow front-row starter Aitken stormed into the lead, with Morris slipping to fourth at Deene behind Matthew Mason and Hongwei Cao.
Morris fought his way back past Cao at Chapman for third and quickly latched onto the tail of Mason, with their squabbling for second allowing Aitken to pull away at the front.
In a tight battle for fifth, Chris Middlehurst forced his way past Luke Williams at Gracelands, with Brabham also getting through to move into the top six. As the race developed, Brabham came into his own, with the American’s gamble to go for slick tyres paying off as he began running as comfortably the quickest driver on track.
Brabham was quickly past Middlehurst on lap five, before passing Cao two laps later. His next target was Morris, the Team USA Scholarship winner dispatching him with ease, before going on to pass Mason for second at Gracelands.
As Brabham began to chase down the leader, Morris was coming under pressure from Cao and Middlehurst behind. Knowing that dropping one place would cost him the championship, Morris was determined with his defending and managed to break away into a gap once again.
Ahead, Brabham had caught the leader, but unlike many of his rivals, Aitken wasn’t going to concede his place easily. The duo first came to blows heading into Deene, with Brabham just managing to keep his car out of the wall, before on the last lap, Brabham thought he’d found a way past at the final corner, but contact spun him round.
Aitken stormed away to take the win then, with Brabham recovering to take second ahead of Mason. Morris crossed the line fourth to take the title, with Cao and Middlehurst completing the top six.
Ivan Taranov produced another great drive to work his way through from seventeenth on the grid to finish seventh, while George Gamble completed a strong maiden single-seater campaign in eighth. Michael Epps rounded off a tough day with a well-earned ninth place, while Sean Walkinshaw completed the top ten.
Provisional Final 2012 Protyre Formula Renault BARC Winter Series with Michelin Championship Standings:
- Seb Morris – 113 points
- Jack Aitken – 112 points
- Matt Mason – 104 points
- Chris Middlehurst – 95 points
- Hongwei Cao – 79 points