Motor Sport –
Kieran Vernon has his eyes on his favourite track – or India – after an impressive podium finish at Silverstone.
The 22-year-old from West Chiltington finished third in his latest Protyre Formula Renault BARC race, televised live by ITV4 as part of the popular British Touring Cars package.
Budget permitting, he will race this month in the Renault BARC Winter Series at Brands Hatch, a track where he has won four times since 2009, or perhaps even in the MRF Challenge before the Indian Grand Prix.
Vernon is hugely grateful to his backers and supporters, including The Resident, Fine Sussex, West Chiltington Golf Club, Storrington-based Design at 32, Set4Success, Octane Photographic and Geri Conroy of Roger Constant Lemaire Champagne.
Despite missing the first three races of the 14-race season, and being able to afford much less testing of his car than many rivals, the former Steyning Grammar School pupil finished fifth in the Renault BARC championship.
He said: “I’m really, really chuffed. We knew we were going to have a difficult race, even though we managed to pull a superstar lap out in qualifying to get on the front row!
“When the second safety car came out, I knew it was going to be a bit of a dash. You just have to stay calm and make sure you get a good restart, which is what we did.
“I was still learning throughout the race. We’ve had no testing this year and that makes a lot of difference. It would be nice one day to get a full budget.
“To qualify second and finish third is a huge achievement for me and Hillspeed. I’m 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.”
Hillspeed ace Vernon qualified second of 32 drivers, only 0.028 seconds behind Seb Morris, lost three places on the first two laps and moved up to third seconds before three cars collided just behind him eight laps into the 21-lap race.
That collision at Brooklands effectively ended the title hopes of unlucky Josh Webster (Stowmarket), who finished second to Scott Malvern (Barkingside) in the championship.
Sixteen-year-old sensation Morris (Marford, Wrexham), who last week featured in a half-hour documentary on Sky Sports F1, won both races at the weekend to cement his third place in the championship.
Vernon finished seventh in the first race, one place behind Matthew Brabham, grandson of three-time Formula 1 world champion Sir Jack Brabham.
He had qualified only 11th, as he was badly hampered on his last flying lap when the drying track was at its best and many drivers were recording their fastest times.
Vernon’s two results at the weekend maintained his record of finishing in the top seven of every race he has entered this year, a run of 11 races including four podiums.
Southwater’s Will Palmer finished ninth and seventh in Ginetta Junior races at Silverstone. He was penalised five seconds and four places for exceeding track limits in the second race.
Protyre Formula Renault BARC top six: 1 Scott Malvern (368 points), 2 Josh Webster (335), 3 Seb Morris (274), 4 David Wagner (243), 5 Kieran Vernon (236), 6 Macaulay Walsh (214).