Scott Malvern (Barkingside, Ilford) is the 2012 Protyre Formula Renault BARC Champion after a controlled and assured run to second place in the final round of the season at Silverstone on Sunday, 7th Octoberhis second national single-seater title in as many years.
Marking the Cullen Motorsport drivers 11th podium of the campaign, his first in slicks and wings competition, he also wrapped-up the championship in style by setting the fastest lap of the race with a new Protyre Formula Renault BARC lap record of 56.302 seconds (104.88mph).
Going into the last roundwhich was screened live on ITV4 and ITV4 HDwith a lead of 11 points over sole title rival Josh Webster (Stowmarket, Suffolk), Malvern surged from fourth on the grid into second by the first corner and never looked back. Webster, meanwhile, endured dire misfortune through no fault of his own and, as in 2011, concludes the season as Vice-Champion.
Seb Morris (Marford, Wrexham) continued his excellent return to form and added his second victory of the weekend with a lights-to-flag success from pole position. Joining Webster with five wins for the year, the 16-year-old was able to end his rookie single-seater season third in the points.
Absolutely fantastic, said an ecstatic Malvern, I would have loved to win the race, I had a really good go but I didnt want to take too many risks as I knew Josh [Webster] was further behind. I had a few nibbles at Seb [Morris] near the start but then just settled into it after that really.
Its fantastic to win the BARC Renault title in my first year, especially off the back of winning Formula Ford last year. I havent won the most races but weve been consistent and Ive taken the biggest number of fastest laps so it proves our pace. What happens next, who knows...its all down to budget and could be anything!
Biggest ever grid provides terrific Silverstone spectacle The packed 32-car grid, the biggest in the history of the championship and the largest Formula Renault entry in the UK for a number of years, proved a fantastic advertisement for the increasingly popular, and cost-effective, Protyre Formula Renault BARC series on its return to the British Touring Car Championship package.
While Morris and Malvern ran in close company throughout, taking the chequered flag on lap 21 split by just 0.7 seconds, further behind Webster tried his level best to overturn a disappointing seventh place on the grid into a potential podium challenge at the very least.
Moving into sixth place on lap one, Webster had a good opportunity to try and make further gains following an early Safety Car period but on the second lap of the re-start he was forced to take dramatic avoiding action at Brooklandspitching his car into a spinwhen Chris Middlehurst (St. Helens) tangled with the rear of the Scorpio car of Macaulay Walsh (Northampton).
Wrecking Websters already slim championship chances, the 2012 McLaren Autosport BRDC Award finalist did recover back onto the track, albeit at the tail of the top 20, but mounted a tremendous fightback in his MGR Motorsport FR 2.0 to finish in a hard-fought 13th placenot what he deserved.
It has been a good year on the whole, weve got equal race wins with Seb [Morris] after his fantastic weekend here and there are some positives to take away, said Webster, Racing is harsh sometimes though, I said exactly the same thing this time last year! We did make some good overtaking manoeuvres after going off the track but I was never going to win the championship.
We went out fighting but now Im just looking forward and I cant wait for the finals of the McLaren Autosport BRDC Award, thats something to aim for. Im a bit sad to see my Formula Renault BARC days end like this, it would have been good to go out on a win, but qualifying put me in the bad part of the race and when [Chris] Middlehurst and [Macaulay] Walsh clashed that was curtains for me.
Double race winner Morris, who will graduate to the Formula Renault 2.0 Northern European Cup next weekend during its final round at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium, acknowledged the strength of Protyre Formula Renault BARC.
Its been a fantastic weekend, to take two poles and the two wins is the perfect way to round-off the championship and to end the year top three in my first season is incredible, said the Fortec driver, If you can win races in BARC Renault I think it shows you can win in anything as its so tight. To beat a guy like Scott Malvern makes me feel really proud.
Hillspeeds Kieran Vernon (West Chiltington, West Sussex) made a welcome return to the podium with third place, ending the season just seven points shy of the top four despite missing the opening three rounds of the championship.
Starting second on the grid, Vernon slipped to third behind Malvern off the line before being bundled back to fifth prior to the first Safety Car. He then profited from the Middlehurst/Walsh incident to move back into the podium placings and fended off Russian driver Ivan Taranov, enjoying a career-best performance on his first weekend with Scorpio Motorsport, during the closing stages.
MGRs David Wagner (Glasgow) finished fifth, securing fourth in the championship, with returnee Jack Dex (Daventry) matching his opening-round best of sixth for SWB Motorsport. Walsh, despite failing to score, rounded out the top six in the championship after a strong maiden season.
Reflecting on his podium return, Vernon said: Weve been coming into every race this year on the backfoot as we dont go testing, we havent had the budget to do that. To qualify second and finish third is a huge achievement for me and Hillspeed, Im massively proud of all the boys who have been great and a big thank you to all the people who have sponsored and donated to get me out here.
Although the 2012 championship is now concluded, Protyre Formula Renault BARC will be back in action just a fortnight from now, over the weekend 20th/21st October, at Brands Hatch Grand Prix Circuit in Kent for the opening two rounds of the Winter Series.
Along with headline sponsor Protyre, Formula Renault BARC is additionally supported by Michelin, The Lubricant Consultancy, Petronas Syntium and NGK Spark Plugs.
Final 2012 Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship Standings (inc. drop scores):CHAMPION: Scott Malvern, 368pts; 2nd Josh Webster, 335pts; 3rd Seb Morris, 274pts; 4th David Wagner, 243pts; 5th Kieran Vernon, 236pts; 6th Macaulay Walsh, 214pts