Only four races remain in the 2014 Protyre Formula Renault Championship and ahead of next weekend’s penultimate event of the season at Croft Circuit in North Yorkshire the one question on everyone’s lips is, can anybody break the eight-race winning streak of Pietro Fittipaldi (Camberley)?
Going into rounds 12 and 13 at the Darlington track on 20th/21st September, MGR Motorsport racer Fittipaldi is in absolute control at the top of the title standings with his remarkable run of success affording the Brazilian a huge 70 point lead on overall scores.
Even with the single ‘drop score’ ruling applied, where each competitor has to deduct their lowest score of the campaign from their final net totals, Fittipaldi – who has won a total of nine races so far this year – is a very healthy 54 points clear of Fortec Motorsport’s Alex Gill (Womersley).
It really is crunch time in Protyre Formula Renault with the final pair of race meetings separated by just one week. After the visit to Croft, the championship finale will take place at Silverstone National Circuit on 27th/28th September where the category will make is annual appearance on the British Touring Car Championship package and benefit from live television coverage on ITV4 and ITV4 HD.
Italian driver Matteo Ferrer (Colchester) is second in the championship to MGR team-mate Fittipaldi on overall scores but a haul of 80 points for Gill last time out at Snetterton 300 Circuit means he has a slim five point advantage over Ferrer on ‘drops’. Ferrer and Gill are the only drivers to have beaten Fittipaldi this year, taking one win apiece at Rockingham at the beginning of the season.
Fourth in the championship with eight podiums, and still a contender for the crown, is Scorpio Motorsport’s Piers Hickin (Knaphill) who has had a less than straightforward season in his first full year in Formula Renault. In terms of pace Hickin is as quick as any of his front-running rivals, but a variety of issues this season have so far prevented him from standing on the top step of the rostrum.
Single-seater rookie Colin Noble Jnr (Penicuik, Midlothian) leads the next group of drivers in fifth place in the standings and the MGR racer has already proven his capability with a maiden podium at Donington Park at the start of June.
The Scotsman is being closely pursued by Cliff Dempsey Racing duo Patrick Dussault and TJ Fischer, the Canadian and American currently sixth and seventh respectively in the championship. In their first season of racing in the UK, the CDR team-mates have progressed superbly well and a debut podium for either wouldn’t be out of the question at Croft.
Rounding out the top eight is SWB Motorsport’s Jack Butel, the Jersey youngster having consistently chalked up the points in his first year in car racing. He is, though, only four points ahead of MTECH Lite rookie Hayden Edmonds (Tamworth) who only joined the championship in time for round four.
Exciting Indian teenager Tarun Reddy would undoubtedly be in the battle for a top three or four series placing, were it not for the fact his racing licence from the sub-continent has precluded the MGR driver from scoring points since round seven at Brands Hatch. Reddy has so far achieved three outright podium finishes in his maiden season in Europe, an impressive tally for the 16-year-old.
Round 12 qualifying at Croft will take place at 09.30 on Saturday, 20th September, with the round 13 session following at 13.50. On Sunday, 21st September, the first race of the weekend is scheduled to begin at 12.00 with race two getting underway at 16.00.
Along with headline sponsor Protyre, Formula Renault is additionally supported by Michelin.
Provisional 2014 Protyre Formula Renault Championship Driver Standings (after Rd11):
1st Pietro Fittipaldi, 338pts; 2nd Matteo Ferrer, 268pts; 3rd Alex Gill, 262pts