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White more than doubles Championship lead

21 August 2011

Josh White significantly increased his championship lead during rounds seven and eight of the 2011 British Formula Kart Stars (FKS) series at Genk in Belgium recently.

Josh, who went into the latest FKS fixture leading the MiniMax class for 11-16 year-olds by 29 points, put in a strong and consistent performance throughout the two days of competition. Indeed in the end he outscored all three of his now closest rivals - and will head into the final two events at Whilton Mill and Ellough Park next month with 1116 points on the board and a 61-point cushion, more than doubled that which he enjoyed prior to Genk.

The West Yorkshire lad, who is also very well positioned in the British Super One Rotax Series and right in contention for that title too, began proceedings positively and was right on the pace, setting the fourth best time in first qualifying.

Josh then brought his RL Racing Department Ltd-run kart home in third in the opening heat. The second heat however proved tougher, but despite being disadvantaged by having to run on new wet tyres, while those around him had scrubbed wets, he eventually ended up seventh, gaining a position on the very final lap.

The 15-year-old found himself in similar position with the tyres in the round seven final of the Lewis Hamilton and Bernie Ecclestone Formula One Management-backed series, but again pushed on and took fourth at the flag.

“It was good to be right up there and fourth in qualifying,” Josh reflected. “The first heat went well and we got good points with third. However in the second it rained and as we were on new wets and everyone else in front was on scrubbed wets, they had more grip. By the end though they came on and I think I was one of the first of the new wet tyre runners at the finish.

“In the final we were on wets again. But as the track started to dry out, the older ones were again quicker and by the end it was suitable for slicks. I had more tread on my tyres - and that slowed me down, although I still got fourth.”

The next day, Josh was again right on it and in the second FKS MiniMax qualifying session was third. The Ilkley Grammar School pupil then took fourth in the first heat, a fantastic recovery drive given at one point he was 15th, and while in the second he had to be content with 12th - a sticky throttle costing him valuable time - he ended the weekend on the podium, with third in the round eight FKS final.

It was another good fight back, especially given the problems in the second heat left him 7th at the start and he gained two places on the opening lap and was up to third by lap 6. He then ran in the top-three until near the end when he was pushed off on the final lap. Josh thus finished fourth on the road, but re-gained third when his rival was excluded by the stewards.

“There was a lot going on today,” Josh continued. “In heat 1 a dry line started to appear and so we went for slicks. I was doing okay, but then I hit a wet patch and it spun me around. It put me right down the order. But towards the end the slick tyre came on and we came back through to fourth.

“The second heat was tougher. I didn't have the grip and then going through one corner the throttle caught on and I went off the track. The final went well. We were in second or third for most of it. But we had a bit of contact near the end and that put us down to fourth. It was a shame, although we still got third following the stewards ruling.

“Overall, it has been a fairly difficult weekend with the weather and the tyres. But while we may not have got the individual results we wanted, we still scored lots of points and we increased our championship lead - in that respect it was excellent.”

Josh's focus now switches to the penultimate event of the 2011 Formula Kart Series at Whilton Mill on September 3-4 and he can't wait to take in rounds nine and ten at the Northamptonshire circuit: “I like the track there because it has got quite a few corners and it is very fast and flowing,” Josh added. “I have got good pace around there and I hope to get some good results.”

RL Racing Department Ltd team owner Steve Armstrong meanwhile felt it had been a positive weekend for Josh, especially given the tyre situation: “In the wet races Josh was really at a little bit of a disadvantage. He was on new wets and a lot of people were on old and those tyres were faster,” Steve explained. “But Josh still did a good job. We have now edged away massively in the points and are 61 points clear with two events and four rounds to go.

“I think the last two tracks will suit us. We really just need to keep pushing in the top-threes and top-fours and we will be there. We are not however going to settle for just gaining points. We are going to go for race wins because that is how you win the championship, isn't it? We won't treat the race meeting at Whilton Mill any differently to any of the others this year. We will try and keep the points in mind a little bit, but as I said the goal is still to win as many races as possible.”

“It was a bit of a lottery this weekend in terms of the weather and the situation with the tyres,” added Josh's father, Nick. “But I am still happy with where we stand with the two double headers to go. We are well-placed in FKS - and in Super One too. It all looks very positive.”


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