Rookie Walsh Salvages Championship Top Five At Croft

Macaulay Walsh managed to hold on to a top five placing in the Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship standings at Croft in North Yorkshire on Sunday, 22nd July, despite a luckless weekend in which his podium potential couldnt be realised due to a string of unfortunate circumstances.Multi-car contact in round eight, while challenging for fifth place, resulted in a dramatic retirement from the opening race for the Northampton 17-year-old. Then, a driveshaft problem ahead of round ninea legacy of the race one incidentwrecked any hopes of a significant points score.Arriving at the 2.1-mile track fourth in the championship and just 11 points shy of the coveted top three, the talented Scorpio Motorsport rookie started off impressively in the short 15-minute free practice run on Saturday, 21st July, to post the third fastest time overall.Lapping sixth fastest in round eight qualifying, Macaulay aimed for more in the round nine session but his hopes were hit when red flags were shown on two occasions. Prior to the second stoppage the first year racer hadnt set a representative time but, with the pressure on, he delivered a superb sixth quickest effort on his only flying lap of the session.Confident of two good races, the Scorpio ace made a clean start to the opening encounter and held sixth behind championship leader Scott Malvern. On lap three, as Malvern and Seb Morris battled, it gave Macaulay the chance to try and challenge for fifth but at the complex on lap three the trio got a little too close for comfort and the ensuing contact wrecked Macaulays race.Losing his front wing in the skirmish, the Bodymek Ltd, Adrian Bibby Creative Design and Piers Sexton-backed youngster did attempt to continue but as he approached the first corner on lap four he ran wide into the graveland retirementdue to a front-left puncture and suspension damage.Race one was really disappointing, he commented, We made a good start and everything looked good but a few laps in at the complex it all got a bit close and it was just one of those incidents. I tried to get going again but the front-left tyre came away, the car was pretty badly damaged.Scorpio did an outstanding job to get Macaulays FR 2.0 back into one piece in time for round nine, making a series of repairs to the front end, suspension and undertray, but bitter disappointment struck all concerned on the lap to the grid when the driveshaft failed.The team again worked miracles to replace the driveshaft and although losing a lap in the process as he sat in the pits, the teenager was able to salvage a 17th place finish which importantly gave him the required score to hold fifth in the championship table by a single point.It was looking good for race two, the team had done an amazing job to get the car repaired and we knew we had the pace, added Macaulay, On the lap out of the pits the driveshaft went but the team did a great job to get it changed really quickly. When I got out there I had some fun but at this level thats not enough, you want to win. Hopefully at Donington we can be back on the podium.Next on the agenda for Macaulay will be the fifth race meeting of the 2012 Protyre Formula Renault BARC season, rounds 10, 11 and 12, at Donington Park on 18th/19th AugustLoughborough-based Scorpios local circuit.Provisional 2012 Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship Driver Standings (after Rd9):1st Scott Malvern, 234pts; 5th Macaulay Walsh, 144pts

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