Chris Middlehurst - Credit: Jakob Ebrey Photography
Credit: Jakob Ebrey Photography
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Renault Stars Look To Impress In BTCC Finale

The 2013 Protyre Formula Renault Championship reaches its conclusion this weekend when the championship makes its now-annual guest appearance on the BTCC package at Silverstone, with an eighteen-car grid set to entertain the crowds in Rounds 15 and 16.

The 2013 title was wrapped up last time out at Rockingham by Chris Middlehurst, a podium hat-trick in Corby capping off an incredibly consistent campaign for the MGR Motorsport driver, with thirteen podium finishes in fourteen races, including six wins.

The 18 year old will head into the final weekend looking to crown his success with more race wins, however the rest of the field will be fighting to wrestle the spotlight away from him this weekend.

Weiron Tan and Fortec Motorsport are favourites heading into the meeting, having dominated the last two. The Malaysian racer added two wins at Rockingham to a treble at Croft, and he looked set to make it six in a row when engine trouble forced him into retirement in Round 14.

Team-mate Hongwei Cao was there to benefit and take his maiden win in the series, with Fortec clearly having a love affair with the banked circuit, having now won the last seven Formula Renault races in a row there.

The Daventry-based outfit have strong form at Silverstone too, taking a double at the circuit last season in the hands of Seb Morris, meaning they will surely be the team to beat this weekend. While the title is out of their hands now, Tan and Fortec will be looking to end the season with the most race wins, Tan currently one behind Middlehurst’s haul of six, Fortec tied with MGR on seven.

With Fortec and MGR having shared all the race-wins between them so far this season, the remainder of the grid will be looking to return to the top spot at Silverstone, and leading the charge will be 2010 champions Hillspeed with Jake Cook.

The 20 year old will hoping to take his maiden win in the series to help his efforts in regaining third in the championship standings, after narrowly slipping behind Jorge Cevallos at Rockingham. The Mexican is looking to return to the top step for the first time since the opening rounds at Donington in April.

2008 and 2009 series champions Scorpio Motorsport will hope to be among the mix for the race wins, as they target their first success since Kourosh Khani’s win at Oulton Park in May 2011.

Russian Ivan Taranov will be looking for victory on his return to the championship, while his Brazilian team-mate Henrique Baptista is targeting a first podium finish as he aims to take a top six championship finish. The team also welcomes Piers Hickin into their ranks for the first time following his switch from Core Motorsport.

Reigning champions Jamun Racing will hope to end their season on the podium. Recent BRDC F4 race-winner Pietro Fittipaldi holds their best hope of success after electing to compete at Silverstone, rather than the concluding F4 meeting at Donington Park, with his team-mate Diego Menchaca having decided to do the opposite.

Mtech Lite are also targeting the podium places, however with lead driver Joe Ghanem sitting out the weekend, they will be relying on Matias Galetto and Shahan Sarkissian, both drivers looking for their maiden championship podiums.

With the championship’s appearance on the BTCC package this weekend bringing with it the opportunity to race in front of comfortably the series’ largest trackside audience of the season, and live to millions on ITV4, a number of drivers have joined the grid for the weekend.

Alongside the aforementioned returns of Hickin and Taranov, who missed the last one and two weekend’s respectively, Core Motorsport will be returning with series debutant Ashley Crossey, while Alex Gill will make his car-racing debut with Mtech.

Qualifying for the weekend’s two encounters takes place on Saturday (28th) at 10:25, with Round 15 following at 17:35. Round 16, which will be televised live on ITV4, is at 13:45 on Sunday (29th).