Double award for Ipswich racer Rob Welham at Rockingham

Rob Welham, at Rockingham Photo: CONTRIBUTED

Rob Welham, at Rockingham Photo: CONTRIBUTED - Credit: Archant

Ipswich racing driver Rob Welham, 16, made the step up into Single Seat Formula Motorsport from karting making his race debut at Rockingham Motor Speedway in Northamptonshire.

Welham joined a grid of experienced drivers in the BRSCC Speed Group F1000 Championship in the F1000 Jedi car, which accelerates from 0-60 in 2.5 seconds and has a top speed of 150mph.

This was a big challenge for the talented young driver having only briefly tested at a full circuit once previously.

Add to this he had only ever practiced the Rockingham circuit on the simulator at the Izone Driver Performance facility at Silverstone and hadn’t been to the track before!

But thanks to the team at F1000, Jedi Racing Cars and the other drivers Welham was fully supported and prepared.

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In qualifying, which was very much treated as a practice session Welham managed a solid ninth place from 13 drivers, improving his lap times consistently before taking his grid slot for Race 1. A solid start and some good overtakes saw him finish a very good sixth place.

Race 2 was a reverse grid and saw Rob starting in third place.

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Experiencing a safety car for the first time, suffering a broken drive shaft on the last lap and having to remove himself safely from the track meant lots was learned and indeed stood him in good stead for Race 3.

Starting ninth again, Welham was making good progress before another safety car.

However once racing commenced again Welham displayed some beautifully controlled driving and some breath-taking moves to come home in fourth place.

This in itself was a great result but in addition he was also presented with the F1000 ‘Newcomer of the Meeting’ award and also ‘Driver of the Meeting’ award as well as earning high praise for his impressive debut from the Clerk of the Course, Course Commentator and Motorsport News journalist.

It was a great start to Welham’s 2019 F1000 Championship preparation which will now continue later this month at the popular TCR UK meeting at Castle Combe Circuit, Wiltshire, before he continues his Super One British Karting Championships campaign the following week at Shenington, near Banbury.

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