The inaugural season of Senior Rotax competition in the Formula One Management backed Formula Kart Stars competition has seen its peaks and troughs but it ended on a high for James Singleton (Coles Racing) at a sun-kissed Whilton Mill near Daventry.
The Welshman ended the season with a pair of Challenge victories at the bumpy and demanding Whilton circuit, with Sunday’s win securing him the 2012 Senior Max title and with it, his second consecutive trip to the Autosport Awards in December.
Formula Kart Stars Senior Rotax Challenges
The entry list for Whilton Mill contained every Challenge winner thus far in 2012 and it was Singleton, who won Challenge 8 at his home circuit of Glan Y Gors, who set the pace in Saturday’s qualifying session. The first year Senior driver finished the session nearly three-tenths faster than Charlie Turner (Coles Racing) with triple Challenge winners Josh Collings (CRG UK) and Sam Ward (Coles Racing) next in line and the only other driver with a Challenge win to his name in 2012, Ryan Norris (TMR Developments) rounding out the top five.
Singleton led a processional heat one from start to finish, beating Turner to the line by 1.7secs with Collings, Ward and Norris following him home at a distance but Singleton’s near legendary 2012 bad luck returned in heat two when a mechanical failure forced him to retire whilst leading.
Collings capitalised and took the win by 0.4secs over Turner and Norris with Ward and Columbian driver Nicolas Morales (Vital Motorsport) completing the top five.
Collings and Turner shared the front row of the grid for the gruelling 21-lap final but both faded in the final with Collings eventually retiring and Turner losing out to a charging Singleton, who took the win by 1.5secs with Norris chasing Turner home for the final podium spot and Ward a distant fourth.
Singleton’s Saturday form carried over to Sunday morning as he claimed his second straight pole position, albeit by a much smaller margin from Norris, Collings and Turner but despite Collings’ best efforts he couldn’t quite keep pace with Singleton in heat one, which Singleton won by a fraction over one second with Turner a close third.
Heat two began minus both Norris and Collings, who both missed the closing of the grid gate and the race also lost Turner in the opening laps when his kart ground to a halt at Christmas Corner, all of which left Singleton with a comfortable cruise to victory from Ward and Andrew Rees-Reynolds (Adrenalin Racing).
Those who expected Singleton to dominate the final and claim the title in untroubled fashion were in for a shock when firstly Morales grabbed the lead and then a brief off course excursion dropped Singleton behind all his main rivals. Turner’s bad luck continued when his throttle cable snapped and it was Ward who emerged with a comfortable advantage. Singleton quickly passed Collings to move into third and then set about passing Norris for second.
Norris was dispatched at mid distance and then Singleton set about reducing Ward’s advantage, catching his teammate with a handful of laps remaining and then pulling off an audacious move through ‘The Boot’ for the lead, slowing Ward down in the process. Norris then passed Ward for second but couldn’t catch Singleton, who claimed the win and the title by 1.6secs from Norris, Ward and Collings.