Silverstone National Circuit welcomes the aspiring professional single-seater racers of the Protyre Formula Renault Championship this weekend, 27th/28th September, where the final two rounds of an exhilarating season will run in support of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship.
Just a few days removed from the penultimate event of the season at Croft in North Yorkshire last weekend, where Brazilian star Pietro Fittipaldi (Camberley) sealed the title in style with his 10th race victory of the season, attention now turns to the battle for the coveted Vice-Champion’s position.
Going into rounds 14 and 15, and with the championship’s single ‘drop score’ taken into account, only 10 points separate Alex Gill (Womersley), Piers Hickin (Knaphill) and Matteo Ferrer (Colchester) in the fight for second place in the standings and they are the only three drivers other than Fittipaldi to have won a race this year.
While the newly crowned 2014 champion, grandson of legendary double Formula One title winner Emerson Fittipaldi, has dominated Protyre Formula Renault this year for MGR Motorsport he hasn’t had things completely his own way.
Team-mate Ferrer was the first of the drivers to defeat the South American during round two at Rockingham with his maiden triumph and Gill then claimed his first victory for Fortec Motorsport in round three at the Corby track.
From there, however, Fittipaldi put together a run of eight straight wins – three at Donington Park, two at Brands Hatch Indy Circuit and three at Snetterton 300 Circuit – before Scorpio Motorsport’s Hickin secured his long-awaited maiden success in round 12 last Sunday.
Behind the top four, MGR podium finisher Colin Noble Jnr (Penicuik, Midlothian) is the best of the rest and holds a 28 point advantage over Cliff Dempsey Racing’s TJ Fischer. The American starred in qualifying at Croft with a season-best top three performance, but an unfortunate stall put paid to his podium hopes – perhaps the finale will afford Fischer the first silverware of his maiden season.
His CDR team-mate Patrick Dussault is seventh in the championship, a further 25 points adrift of Fischer, and two non-scores at Croft following a pair of unfortunate tangles involving Indian racer Tarun Reddy proved costly.
Rounding out the championship top eight is inexperienced Jersey karting graduate Jack Butel who competes with SWB Motorsport. Butel is one of only two drivers in the championship, the other being race winner Ferrer, who has points to drop before determining his net total for the year but his top eight placing looks all but guaranteed.
Following two officially timed practice sessions at Silverstone on Friday, 26th September, qualifying for round 14 will get underway at 10.25 on Saturday, 27th September, with the round 15 session set to follow at 13.50 ahead of the first race of the weekend at 17.05.
On Sunday, 28th September, the final round of the Protyre Formula Renault Championship campaign will begin at 13.45 and will be screened live on ITV4 and ITV4 HD with the addition of live online streaming at www.itv.com/btcc
Along with headline sponsor Protyre, Formula Renault is additionally supported by Michelin.
Provisional 2014 Protyre Formula Renault Championship Driver Standings (after Rd13 inc. drops):
CHAMPION: Pietro Fittipaldi, 380pts; 2nd Alex Gill, 312pts; 3rd Piers Hickin, 306pts; 4th Matteo Ferrer, 302pts