Weiron Tan has dominated qualifying for Rounds 12, 13 and 14 of the Protyre Formula Renault Championship, taking all three pole positions at Rockingham.
The Malaysian racer continued his stunning form from the last meeting at Croft, where he took a treble victory, into the two twenty-minute qualifying sessions, leading a Fortec Motorsport domination of the sessions that left championship leader Chris Middlehurst in the shadows.
Middlehurst topped the morning’s opening session at the halfway stage, but as the track improved, the times began to tumble. Snetterton race-winner Sam MacLeod briefly held the provisional pole, but his Fortec team-mate Tan snatched it away in the latter stages with a best time of 1m 18.571s.
MGR Motorsport’s Middlehurst pipped MacLeod by just 0.001s to join his chief championship rival on the front row for the opening sixteen lap race, with MacLeod left to settle for third, despite being just 0.066s off Tan’s best.
Wei Fung Thong rounded off a superb session for the Fortec team in fourth, ahead of MGR pairing Jorge Cevallos and Matteo Ferrer. The first non-Fortec or MGR machine was back in eighth in the form of Hillspeed’s Jake Cook, with a top ten separated by just 0.302s being rounded off by Pietro Fittipaldi and Matias Galetto.
The second best times from the session form the grid for the weekend’s second race, with Fortec leading the way with a one-two-three. Tan’s effort of 1m 18.642s put him on top once again, with MacLeod and Thong close behind, 0.101s separating the team-mates.
Championship leader Middlehurst was left to lead a MGR threesome in fourth, with Ferrer and Cevallos sharing row three. Fittipaldi and Galetto made an improvement meanwhile, moving up to seventh and eighth respectively.
Conditions remained overcast for the qualifying session of the day in the early afternoon, with the big guns once again waiting until nearly halfway through the session before making their first appearances on track.
This meant Cao, who took seventh and ninth in the first session, topped the timesheets at the halfway stage with a time of 1m 19.714s. The Chinese racer improved his time by four tenths by the time the red flag was introduced with six minutes left on the clock after a spin for Galetto at Pif Paf.
At the restart, Tan was first to break Cao and the Malaysian racer went on to set a best time of 1m 18.758s to secure his sixth pole position of the season by over half a second. A last gasp lap by Middlehurst promoted him to second above Fortec duo MacLeod and Cao.
Galetto managed to hang on to fifth for Mtech Lite despite his early exit from the session, the Argentinian joined on the third row by series newcomer Leo Yee, the Chinese racer making an impact on his debut under the Fortec Competition banner. Cook completed a frustrating day’s qualifying in seventh, with Henrique Baptista eighth for Scorpio Motorsport.
Full qualifying results can be found here: http://tsl-timing.com/barc/2013/133221bfr.pdf