Frustration for Walkinshaw after career-best qualifying

Published: 18 June 2012
Sean Walkinshaw
Sean Walkinshaw

Pictured: Sean Walkinshaw

Sean Walkinshaw rued what might have been at Thruxton in Hampshire on Sunday, 17th June, when two incident-filled Protyre Formula Renault BARC races compromised his chances of two career-best finishes – and all after his most impressive qualifying performance to date.

Lapping with excellent pace from the off during the brief 15-minute practice session, the MTECH Lite driver was in the form of his career at the fastest circuit on the calendar with an outstanding sixth fastest time in qualifying thanks to a lap of 1m13.517 seconds (115.36mph).

Securing a third row start for round six of the season, the 18-year-old from Chipping Norton was an even better fourth on the grid for round seven, underlining his excellent consistency with a second quickest time of 1m13.689 seconds (115.09mph).

Far and away Sean’s most competitive performance so far, confidence was high for similarly strong race performances and in the first encounter he was set for an almost certain top eight finish when an unfortunate flirtation with the kerbs on lap eight resulted in a spin - dropping the Cheltenham College student down to 20th place.

Determined to salvage what he could from the race, Sean impressively fought his way back into the top 15 before the finish. His best lap of the race, 1m14.423 seconds, was within a mere 0.1 seconds of top four pace – confirming Sean’s credentials for a much stronger race result.

Starting round seven from a career-best fourth on the grid, Sean made an excellent getaway to climb into the podium placings but through the ultra-fast right-hander at Goodwood he ran slightly wide with the resulting lack of grip costing him several places.

Even so, the Oxfordshire driver still ran in a highly competitive seventh position at the end of the first tour and maintained the place ahead of the appearance of the Safety Car on lap three. At the re-start on lap nine, Sean held station but contact from behind four laps from the finish relegated him to an eventual finish of 17th place – not at all what his weekend’s pace deserved.

“Qualifying was great, it went really well and I was really pleased with the time we managed”, said the teenager, “Unfortunately the races didn’t go so well which was really disappointing as we had good pace this weekend. I proved I can be quick in qualifying though and we had good pace in the races too so I know the results will come.

“In race two I was up to third on the first lap and I tried to do Goodwood flat, but the tyres were still quite cold and I ran a bit wide which put me down to sixth or seventh. Then someone nudged me at the complex quite late on, so we dropped down the order. It’s unfortunate but we have a lot of positives to take away to the next round.”

Croft Circuit in North Yorkshire is next on the calendar with rounds eight and nine of the Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship season set to take place five weeks from now on 21st/22nd July.

Provisional 2012 Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship Driver Standings (after Rd7):

=17th Sean Walkinshaw & Chris Middlehurst, 37pts