British Racing Drivers' Club (BRDC) Rising Star Josh Webster just missed outon claiming the 2011 Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship title atSilverstone National Circuit over the weekend, 15th/16th October, despiteracing to his third victory of the season and claiming a double podium.Going into the all-important final two rounds of the campaign 19 points shyof the top of the table, the 17-year-old from Stowmarket needed a hugeweekend to get anywhere close to achieving his dream...and it so nearly camegood after a superb effort from the Fortec Motorsport driver.Determined to give himself the best chance possible of overturning pointsleader Dino Zamparelli, the Suffolk racer qualified for the first of theweekend's encounters on pole position and made a tremendous start toSaturday's 18-lapper.Fending off initial pressure from team-mate Archie Hamilton, Josh deliveredan absolute masterclass at the front by stretching away to a four secondwinning margin. Importantly, he took two further bonus points for settingthe fastest lap of the race with a time of 56.402 seconds (104.61mph) - thistook him to within 10 points of Zamparelli going into the final round onSunday.Still with a lot of hard work ahead, and requiring a good dose of fortunetoo, the Nine Telecom Group, Admiral Group, Integra ICT, Sunwise, MelbekTechnology, Everyone Active and Flying Saucer backed racer couldn't havetried any harder in the televised 12th round.Lining up on the front-row again, this time in second position, Josh madeanother great start to take the lead but pole-sitter Matt Mason dived backthrough into Becketts with a late pass to push the MSA Academy driver backto second place.Piling on the pressure to Mason lap after lap, while also repelling anattack from Kourosh Khani behind, Josh pushed as hard as possible to forcean error from the leader who had to defend hard and hold very tight lines inorder to remain at the front.
Midway through the race, with Zamparelli back in sixth position, Joshliterally had one hand on the champion's trophy but by the time thechequered flag fell on lap 18 his rival had made his way through into thetop three which was enough to give the Antel Motorsport driver the title.Understandably disappointed, Josh couldn't have given anything more or triedany harder - his exceptional weekend meaning he concludes his second seasonof car racing with a tally of nine podiums from 10 race finishes, anoutstanding record. He also set the fastest lap on four occasions andqualified on pole position twice."Being at a points disadvantage due to having had two non-finishes, comparedto Dino's one, made it tough but it was good to take it down to the wire",said Josh, "It just didn't come to us this time but congratulations to Dinoand Antel, they've been quick all year. I'm just looking forward to nextyear now, hopefully we can get the budget to be racing - my sponsors thisyear have been fantastic."I have to say a huge thank you to Nine Telecom, Admiral Group, Integra ICT,Sunwise, Melbek Technology, Everyone Active and Flying Saucer. Thanks to theguys at Fortec for their hard work and to my mum, dad and sisters Leah andFern - without their support I wouldn't be racing at all. For this weekendin particular, thanks to Mike Rockall and Whittlebury Hall for theirfantastic hospitality."He added: "The championship has been so competitive this year and to comeinto the final round with 10 points between us, it shows how close we are.We both wanted it just as much as each other, in the end he just managed topip me but I'm pleased we've put on a good show this year."Final 2011 Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship Standings:Champion: Dino Zamparelli, 295pts; Vice-Champion: Josh Webster, 286pts