Thruxton in Hampshire, easily the quickest track on the Protyre Formula Renault BARC calendar, hosts rounds six and seven of the 2012 season next Sunday, 17th June, where Sean Walkinshaw aims to fight for his best results of the championship so far.
Ahead of the third race meeting of the campaign, the Chipping Norton driver’s best finish to date is an excellent 13th place – from an uncharacteristic 23rd on the grid – during the season-opening event at Snetterton back in April.
Less than straightforward qualifying sessions, which have been mainly rain-affected, have compromised both events so far this year for the 18-year-old who has limited experience in those conditions. However, the MTECH Lite youngster’s race performances have been consistently strong.
During his rookie motorsport season last year, the visit to Thruxton proved to be the highlight of the championship for Sean. Delivering a season’s best of 13th position in the first of the weekend’s two races, he went on to confirm his competitiveness at the 2.35-mile track with 14th place in race two.
Although widely regarded as possibly the most challenging venue in the UK due to the sheer speed and high level of commitment and concentration required, Sean quickly adapted to the Hampshire circuit on his first visit in 2011 and he’s keen to try and improve further this time around.
“I’m really looking forward to Thruxton, it’s a fantastic track to drive and we had a good weekend there last year so I’m hoping for even better this time”, said the Oxfordshire racer, “Qualifying has been the biggest problem for us this season, and the weather hasn’t helped, but we are making improvements in the wet and I’ve definitely been pretty happy with my race performances so far.
“If it’s dry at Thruxton, I know we’ve got the ability to qualify around the top 10 and to push for a couple of top 10 results. That’s the goal for the weekend but it is going to be tough, we don’t have any testing at Thruxton and only a short practice so getting up to speed quickly will be important.”
Although currently in the middle of his A-level exams at Cheltenham College, Sean will have the chance to test his FR 2.0 car today, Friday, 8th June, and tomorrow, Saturday, 9th June, at Brands Hatch and Silverstone respectively before returning to his academic work ahead of next weekend.
Following a brief free practice session of just 15 minutes duration next Sunday, 17th June, qualifying at Thruxton will take place at 12.20 with round six commencing at 14.45 and round seven getting underway at 17.25.
Provisional 2012 Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship Driver Standings (after Rd5):
19th Sean Walkinshaw, 25pts