North Yorkshire’s Croft Circuit will welcome the Protyre Formula Renault Championship this coming weekend, 6th/7th July, for the fourth race meeting of the 2013 season with MGR Motorsport’s Chris Middlehurst (St. Helens) enjoying a commanding lead at the top of the points table.
In his second year in the one-make ‘slicks and wings’ category, the 18-year-old has dominated up to now with six wins from the first eight rounds and he will arrive in the North East off the back of four straight victories.
Last time out at Thruxton, Middlehurst enjoyed a near perfect weekend with pole position for all three encounters, a hat-trick of wins and the fastest lap in rounds six and seven. As the second half of the season commences, the teenager holds a remarkable 96 point cushion.
Second in the driver standings is Jake Cook (Rotherham) who, despite a non-finish following a clash with Malaysia’s Weiron Tan (London) in the first of the Thruxton races, went on to claim the fourth and fifth podiums of his maiden season in Protyre Formula Renault with third place for Hillspeed in rounds seven and eight.
Mexico’s Jorge Cevallos (Northampton), who is part of the Escuderia Telmex driver development programme, is 21 points adrift of Cook in the championship after a mixed weekend at Thruxton. The MGR driver managed to secure his second podium of the campaign in round six but electrical issues prevented him starting the second of the weekend’s races. He was then seventh in round eight.
Two podiums for the aforementioned Weiron Tan on his first outing at Thruxton elevated the Fortec Motorsports driver into the series top four – the Caterham F1 Team supported racer also posted the fastest lap in round eight to deny Middlehurst a clean sweep. After some misfortune during the early part of 2013, Tan is now just 12 points shy of Cevallos going into the Croft triple-header.
Fortec team-mate Hong Wei Cao (Stoke-on-Trent) is fifth in the championship and the Chinese racer is brimming with confidence after a career-best second place during the previous event. He currently sits 14 points clear of Lebanon’s Joe Ghanem, the MTECH Lite driver long overdue his first podium.
The remainder of the top 10 features Argentina’s Matias Galetto, who already has one rostrum visit to his credit this year for MTECH, in seventh place ahead of Scorpio Motorsport’s Henrique Baptista (Eastbourne) who heads to Croft off the back of an impressively consistent weekend at Thruxton.
Snetterton podium finisher Matt Rao (Oxford) is ninth in the championship for Hillspeed, just five points shy of Galetto, while Fortec’s rapid car racing rookie Sam MacLeod (Cambridge) rounds out the top 10. The karting graduate began the season in style with both pole positions at Donington Park, but since claiming his maiden win at Snetterton he has encountered some dire misfortune.
Qualifying for rounds nine and 10 of the Protyre Formula Renault season is expected to begin at 10.55 on Saturday, 6th July, with the round 11 grid-determining session following at 12.40. The first race of the weekend will commence at 16.25 with rounds 10 and 11 scheduled for Sunday, 7th July, at 13.15 and 16.40 respectively.
Along with headline sponsor Protyre, Formula Renault is additionally supported by Michelin, The Lubricant Consultancy, Petronas Syntium and NGK Spark Plugs.
Provisional 2013 Protyre Formula Renault Championship Standings (after Rd8):
1st Chris Middlehurst, 258pts; 2nd Jake Cook, 162pts; 3rd Jorge Cevallos, 141pts; 4th Weiron Tan, 129pts; 5th Hong Wei Cao, 114pts; 6th Joe Ghanem, 100pts