Race 1: Qualified 3rd, Finished 3rd
Race 2: Qualified 3rd, DNF
Archie Hamilton (20, Basingstoke) was denied the BARC title in the 2011 Protyre Formula Renault Finals when he was forced out of the final race today by a racer crashing into him. Earlier in the day Archie took a third place, making his tally three wins and two additional podium appearances from the five races. Failing to finish the final race allowed rival Victor Jiminez to claim the title.
The two races today were all about finishing to win the series, and after struggling in qualifying with the wrong set-up for the drying track, Archie took the wise approach of a steady pace and keeping away from trouble to take third – his fifth podium out of five starts. With a 19 point lead, Archie only needed to finish the final race to claim the title.
In the fateful race, Archie was sticking to his strategy, but a safety car period bunched the drivers following an incident involving several of the faster ‘TOCA’ Formula Renault cars, some of whom rejoined the track at the back of the pack behind the BARC cars. After the restart, Archie was suddenly hit from behind with such force that his car was catapulted into a gravel trap from which he couldn’t escape, ending his race and his title campaign. His points from the five races were sufficient for him to take the runner-up position.
“I’m devastated. In a way it would have been easier if I had made a mistake, but to lose a title, when I had been so close to taking it, by needless poor driving is hard to take. I had thought about starting from the pit lane and following everyone from the back but that didn’t seem very sporting – now I just wish I had. I have to take away the three wins and five podiums from six races. I have made a lot of progress this season and I intend to make even more in 2012.”