Ipswich’s Rob Welham secures first podium in only his second appearance in F1000 Championship

Robert Welsha, right, third at Combe Photo: Shaun Smith Media

Robert Welsha, right, third at Combe Photo: Shaun Smith Media - Credit: Archant

Teen racer, 16-year-old Rob Welham put in a fantastic performance in the Speed Group F1000 Championship during the high profile BRSCC TCR Touring Car meeting held at Castle Combe Circuit, in Wiltshire

This came hot on the heels’ of his recent debut at Rockingham, where he achieved fourth place.

Castle Combe is another circuit Rob did not have time to test at as his entry was not confirmed until late.

Qualifying on Saturday was the first time he had seen the track considered one of the most testing on the racing calendar because of its high speed straights and difficult chicanes.

Throughout the 20-minute qualifying session Robs lap times improved steadily to end a very creditable sixth place, but 2.5 seconds a lap off the pace of the pole-man.

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Race one saw Rob make a slightly slow start from sixth and lose places but recovered to take a satisfactory seventh-placed finish.

Race two was a reverse grid of the top seven finishers where Rob should have started on the front row. However he made the decision to start at the back as he felt he was still learning the track and didn’t want to risk a costly mistake early on.

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So, he started the race in 11th position and was soon flying, his lap times tumbled to within four-tenths of the leaders and was making a move for sixth when his front wing clipped the rear tyre of the car in front which meant he had to retire.

Despite the setback, the team at Jedi Racing Cars made the minor repairs to get him back on the grid for race three.

Starting seventh, this race proved to be eventful and clearly demonstrated the unpredictability of this track.

A combination of spins, drivers going wide and oil on one the chicanes all presented new driving experiences for the young Ipswich racer, but he maintained his consistency to put in a phenomenal drive producing lap times within four-tenths of the championship leader, bringing his car home in an unexpected third place – taking his first podium in only his second appearance in the 150 mph car.

A fantastic achievement for the promising young driver.

Rob will be out again in the Jedi, racing in the final F1000 event of 2018 at Donington Park Circuit on October 21.

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