Protyre_BARC_Renault_logoIvan Taranov produced a star performance for Scorpio Motorsport during officially timed Protyre Formula Renault Championship testing at Silverstone National Circuit today, Friday, 27th September, by topping the timesheets on his return to the category ahead of the final two races of the season.

Having been on the racing sidelines for the best part of three months, the 18-year-old Russian racer improved on sixth quickest during the morning to set the outright pace for the day in session two thanks to a best lap of 56.436 seconds (104.64mph) – placing him over 0.2 seconds clear.

Chris Middlehurst (St. Helens), who sealed the 2013 title during the previous event at Rockingham last month, ended the day second fastest on combined times for MGR Motorsport with a best lap of 56.660 seconds (104.22mph), which had put him quickest after the morning run.

Fortec Motorsport’s Sam MacLeod (Cambridge) was only a mere fraction slower, 0.057 seconds to be exact, in third overall with Brazilian youngster Pietro Fittipaldi – grandson of double Formula One World Champion Emerson – an excellent fourth fastest for Jamun Racing.

Malaysian driver Weiron Tan (London), who goes into the weekend second in the championship and on course to end the year as Vice-Champion, rounded-out the day fifth on the combined timesheets for Fortec while Piers Hickin (Knaphill) made it an outstanding day for Scorpio on his first weekend with the team with the sixth fastest time.

“Ivan has been on fire today”, said Scorpio team principal Jon Pettitt, “It’s a nice feeling for him to come back and be quickest and we’re hoping to try and do the same tomorrow. It really has been a very good day in the office with Piers [Hickin] ending up sixth fastest on his first outing with us as well, he’s a quick young driver and looks very strong – we’re really pleased.”

Completing the overall top 10 was Fortec’s Hong Kong national Wei Fung ‘Shaun’ Thong (Liverpool), Hillspeed’s Jake Cook (Rotherham), MGR’s Mexican racer Jorge Cevallos (Oxford) and the third of the Scorpio drivers, Brazil’s Henrique Baptista (Eastbourne). Underlining the level of competitiveness in Protyre Formula Renault, only 0.5 seconds covered the top 10 with just a second splitting the top 16.

Core Motorsport’s Ashley Crossey (Bristol) was the quickest of the newcomers in 15th position for the day, lapping just over 0.1 seconds faster than MTECH Lite’s 16-year-old car racing debutant Alex Gill (Doncaster), the youngest driver in the championship, who ended the day 17th out of 18 runners.

Round 15 qualifying will take place at Silverstone National Circuit at 10.25 tomorrow, Saturday, 28th September, with the round 16 session following at 13.40 ahead of the first race of the weekend at 17.35. On Sunday, 29th September, the final race of the season is timetabled to start at 13.45 and will be screened live on ITV4, ITV4 HD and streamed online at www.itv.com/btcc

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 Rd14 – inc. drop score):

CHAMPION: Chris Middlehurst, 392pts; 2nd Weiron Tan, 297pts; 3rd Jorge Cevallos, 265pts; 4th Jake Cook, 262pts; 5th Hongwei Cao, 249pts; 6th Joe Ghanem, 166pts