|This is just about the only way you can see Formula Renault in the UK this year, and where better than Donington?|
Britain’s most popular and hotly contested one-make single-seater category, the Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship, returns to action at Donington Park next weekend, 18th/19th August, for a bumper three-race outing – an event which could prove pivotal to the destiny of the 2012 title.
With five races remaining, and a possible 170 points up for grabs, the championship is still wide open but two drivers have started to emerge as the main contenders, Cullen Motorsport’s Scott Malvern (Barkingside, Ilford) and MGR Motorsport’s Josh Webster (Stowmarket, Suffolk).
Ahead of rounds 10, 11 and 12, two-time McLaren Autosport BRDC Award finalist Malvern holds a slender seven point advantage over his younger rival. Webster took a pair of faultless victories last time out to reignite his challenge but Donington Park’s National Circuit, unlike Croft and Thruxton the two previous venues on the calendar, is a track Malvern has prior experience of.
While both drivers are a long way clear of the tightly bunched chasing pack, third placed Seb Morris (Marford, Wrexham) has taken three wins so far in his maiden year of single-seater racing and will undoubtedly be a threat at Donington.
Some serious misfortune at both Thruxton and Croft, which resulted in two non-finishes, has dented the 16-year-old’s title aspirations and ahead of next weekend’s penultimate race meeting of the year the Fortec Motorsports driver is 73 points adrift of Malvern.
Next up is MGR’s David Wagner (Glasgow) who edged three points ahead of Scorpio Motorsport’s Macaulay Walsh (Northampton) at Croft last month. Walsh, in his first full season of car racing, endured a desperately unlucky event in which he retired from the first race with damage and only scored four points in the second encounter after a driveshaft failure prior to the start.
Wagner, meanwhile, had one of his strongest weekends of the year with a welcome return to the podium in round nine, his first visit to the rostrum since the opening race of 2012. The series top six is then rounded-out by MGR’s James Fletcher (Windlesham, Surrey) and Hillspeed’s Kieran Vernon (West Chiltington, West Sussex) who are tied on points after both enjoying podium success at Croft.
Two new faces join big grid for Donington races
Among the expected 26 car grid for the Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship’s annual visit to Leicestershire will be two new faces, 17-year-old Struan Moore (Trinity, Jersey) and 16-year-old American-Norwegian national Falco Wauer.
Not only will next weekend’s races with Hillspeed mark Moore’s single-seater debut, the event will also see a long overdue return to competitive action for the teenager who last raced in the Ginetta Junior Championship in 2011 where he accrued several podium finishes.
Wauer, who will be the youngest driver on the grid, is to compete with Cliff Dempsey Racing and despite his age he already has a reasonable amount of single-seater experience – namely in Formula Ford, Formula 4 and the Norwegian Formula Basic series.
Qualifying for rounds 10, 11 and 12 of the 2012 Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship will get underway at 10.30 next Saturday, 18th August, with the first of the weekend’s races beginning at 15.50. Rounds 11 and 12 will follow on Sunday, 19th August, at 11.50 and 16.50 respectively.
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 Rd9):
1st Scott Malvern, 234pts
2nd Josh Webster, 227pts
3rd Seb Morris, 161pts;
4th David Wagner, 147pts
5th Macaulay Walsh, 144pts
6th Kieran Vernon & James Fletcher, 143pts