Suffolk racer Josh Webster hopes he can carry his winning ways into next season after ending his maiden car racing year by securing the BARC Class title in the 2010 Michelin Formula Renault Winter Cup at Pembrey circuit this weekend.
The 16-year-old Fortec Motorsport racer added a further class win together with three podiums during the thrilling four-round meeting to add to his impressive tally from Snetterton last weekend and claim the title by a sizeable 22-point margin. “I’ve really enjoyed this season and I’m delighted to be ending the year in this way,” commented the Stowmarket youngster.
Hillspeed’s David Wagner (Glasgow) also impressed during the single-seater mini-series to secure a maiden class win and finish as runner-up to Josh, just ahead of team-mate Howard Fuller (Kingston upon Thames) who also made his mark during the championship.
Webster lifts the title…
Sunday’s wet qualifying session for the final two rounds of the series (five and six) were once again dominated by the Suffolk teenager as Josh claimed both BARC Class pole positions. SWB Motorsport’s Mackenzie Taylor (Ashford) wasn’t quite as fortunate as the youngster picked up a broken wishbone after just two laps meaning he’d start both races from the back of the gird.
The 1.456-mile track remained damp for the start of round five and as the 20-lap race got underway it was Webster who led the BARC racers into the first corner and quickly set the pace for the chasing Felix Serralles, also racing with Fortec Motorsport, to follow – even though the Puerto Rican wasn’t eligible to score points.
Webster made good on his start to secure his third class win of the series with Serralles in second and Taylor driving a superb race from the back of the field to take third.
Round six and the final round of the series would centre on tyre choice as with the track almost dry on the racing line, the drivers had to decide on whether to remain on wets or gamble on slicks. Fortec Motorsports’ three BARC drivers opted to risk slicks with the rest of the class preferring full wets.
With the race underway, Webster led from Taylor who’d made a great start to move into second with Serralles in third. Wagner was also soon in contention as those on wets initially had the upper hand. Taylor, Serralles and CRS Racing’s Evelin Frank (CRO) then dropped out of the running while shortly after wet-tyre runner Wagner moved into the lead.
Towards the end of the race, Webster’s slicks did come on strong but it was too late as Wagner secured his maiden class win with Josh in second and Fuller rounding off the podium places.
Serralles shines on Saturday…
“More downs than ups,” is how Webster summed up Saturday’s rounds three and four after he twice had to settle for second place behind Serralles. Although the newcomer wasn’t in the running for points, Josh was disappointed not to be on the top step of the podium, especially after dominating the day’s 20-minute wet qualifying session by taking both BARC Class pole positions.
By the time round three was under way the sun, which was a rare sight for teams and drivers, hadn’t completely dried the track leaving it wet off the racing line and for those starting on the right of the track.
Webster made a good start to lead round three despite having to contend with a Safety Car period and the race being red flagged mid-way through. When the race was restarted there was time for just 10 laps with Webster leading the BARC Class until the first corner before contact ahead caused him to lose ground allowing Serralles to emerge as class leader and go on to take the honours. Webster finished second with Fuller in third.
The day’s second race (round four) was slightly less dramatic although just as exciting with Webster and Serralles going head-to-head with Felix getting the better of Josh by the end of the opening lap. Wagner had also got himself into a good position to lie in third place.
Behind positions were changing all the time with Fuller getting past Frank on lap three and Taylor getting ahead of Fortec Motorsport’s Roman Beregech before the Russian reclaimed the place on lap six. As the laps ticked by Webster tried hard to find a way past Serralles but with no joy and after the full race distance, Serralles took the win. Webster, just 0.683s behind, finished second with Wagner joining them on the podium in third.
Commenting on his weekend Webster said: “Saturday’s races were a little disappointing but we certainly made up for it on Sunday and I’m delighted to come away with the BARC Class honours. It was a really enjoyable series and hopefully next year I can make the step-up into the main championship but we’ll just have to see how things go with budgets.”
2010 Michelin Formula Renault Winter Cup – Final BARC Class drivers’ standings:
|1st||Josh Webster||GBR||Fortec Motorsport||52 pts|
|2nd||David Wagner||GBR||Hillspeed||30 pts|
|3rd||Howard Fuller||GBR||Hillspeed||25 pts|
|4th||Roman Beregech||RUS||Fortec Motorsport||21 pts|
|5th||Mackenzie Taylor||GBR||SWB Motorsport||19 pts|
|6th||Evelin Frank||CRO||CRS Racing||8 pts|