‘Rising Star’ keeps his title hopes alive

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STOWMARKET’S Formula Renault driver Josh Webster claimed two podium finishes on Saturday to keep the Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship in sight.

The title contender finished in third place in both races at Thruxton, but problems with Webster’s clutch compromised his starts on each occasion.

The teenager is currently second in the BARC Championship standings and his impressive performances have secured the invitation of the prestigious British Racing Drivers’ Club (BRDC). The organisation want Webster to be one of its “Rising Stars”.

Despite being disappointed he could not claim a first place finish, Webster remained optimistic for his title hopes.

He said: “I want to win every time I go out but two thirds have definitely kept the championship alive for us.

“I am disappointed we couldn’t take a win this weekend. We didn’t have the pace I expected, but finishing on the podium twice isn’t a disaster at all.

“Plus I’ve been invited to be a BRDC Rising Star, which is a massive honour - I’m really proud to be part of the club.”

Webster took to the Hampshire circuit with 35 sponsors and guests watching. While he raced well, his then unidentified clutch problem clearly impacted on his performance.

He took third place, finishing just 0.7 seconds adrift of second position.

In the second race, Webster endured another frustrating start as the top two racers drifted clear of the pack, but Webster managed to clinch third place, and another valuable podium finish.

The speedster said: “I did struggle with the starts, each time I was mobbed into the chicane and dropped to fifth or sixth so I had to race quite hard to get back on to the podium.

“We later found out there was a problem with the clutch though. We’re looking ahead to Silverstone now, it’s one of my favourite tracks and I know we can still win the championship from here – so that’s what I’m going out to try and do.”

Webster is second in the overall championship standings with 224 points. Dino Zamparelli tops the rankings with 243 points.

Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship’s final two rounds will take place on October 15-16 at Silverstone National Circuit in Northamptonshire.

They will receive live television coverage on ITV4 and ITV4 HD in what promises to be Webster’s biggest race as he hopes to win the championship.