Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship leader Seb Morris (Marford, Wrexham) will arrive at Thruxton Circuit in Hampshire next Sunday, 17th June, hoping to add to his tally of three race wins during rounds six and seven of the 2012 season.
Following on from a victorious double last time out at Rockingham, the Fortec Motorsports driver currently holds a 12 point advantage at the top of the standings after an excellent start to his first season in single-seater racing – one which has produced an unbroken run of five pole positions.
The annual visit to Thruxton will be the sole ‘one-day’ event of the Protyre Formula Renault BARC season with practice, qualifying and two races all packed in to a very busy schedule for the teams and drivers.
“It’s all going well for us so far”, commented the 16-year-old, “It was nice to come away from Rockingham with the two results we’d hoped for before the weekend so hopefully we can do the same again at Thruxton.
“It’s going to be a different race meeting this time, with everything packed into one day – qualifying and both races – it’ll be very busy. We’ve only got one short practice before qualifying as well so it’ll be vital to adapt as quickly as possible. I’m confident we can do well though, the team has given me a fantastic car all year and there’s no reason that should be any different at Thruxton.”
Morris’ closest challenger in the points is two time McLaren Autosport BRDC Award finalist Scott Malvern (Barkingside, Ilford) who has proven his class despite precious little time in the car. Only joining the series in the days leading up to the season-opener thanks to a late deal with Cliff Dempsey Racing, the 23-year-old overcame a series of issues at Snetterton to record his first win.
Three other podiums, two last month at Rockingham and a new lap record at the Northamptonshire track, show Malvern will be an increasingly potent force as the season progresses. Somewhat surprisingly though, next weekend’s race meeting will mark Malvern’s first ever visit to Thruxton.
“I think it's the only track in the UK I've never been to, I've driven past it a couple of times but that's it - it's all completely new territory for me”, said Malvern, “I've not actually sat in the car since Rockingham, we haven't tested at all but I know Cliff [Dempsey] and the team have been working hard to make improvements.
“In some ways I'm disappointed to be second in the championship. Looking at the situation we're in though, coming in literally days before the start of the season, having never driven a Renault in anger, with a team that's not been in Renault for about 10 years and with a car that hasn’t run for a couple of years, we’re not doing that bad!”
MGR Motorsport’s Josh Webster (Stowmarket, Suffolk) is the season’s other race winner and he actually held the lead of the championship after the opening three rounds of the campaign. Dreadful misfortune at Rockingham though, where he was caught-up in a qualifying accident which wrecked his entire weekend, dropped him to third in the standings.
Although 41 points adrift of Morris, the MSA Team UK driver certainly has the pace and pedigree to begin closing the gap during rounds six and seven and he’ll be more determined than ever to get back on the top step of the podium.
Scorpio Motorsport’s Macaulay Walsh (Northampton) leads the chase behind the top three and after such a tough weekend for Webster at Rockingham, the impressive teenager is just four points shy of the 2011 Vice-Champion. MGR team-mates David Wagner (Glasgow) and James Fletcher (Windlesham, Surrey), meanwhile, are tied for fifth in the standings.
Once again, a near-capacity entry is expected for the Thruxton event which will begin with a 15 minute practice session at 10.45 on Sunday, 17th June. Qualifying for both races will follow at 12.20 with round six beginning at 14.45 and round seven at 17.25.
Along with headline sponsor Protyre, Formula Renault BARC is additionally supported by Michelin, The Lubricant Consultancy, Petronas Syntium and NGK Spark Plugs.
Provisional 2012 Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship Driver Standings (after Rd5):
1st Seb Morris, 140pts
2nd Scott Malvern, 128pts
3rd Josh Webster, 99pts;
4th Macaulay Walsh 95pts
5th David Wagner & James Fletcher, 86pts