After nine action packed races, its Hungarian Tamas Pa'l Kiss who leads the 2010 Michelin Formula Renault UK Championship as it enjoys its summer break. Seen by many as a dark horse for the title at the beginning of the year, Pa'l Kiss has picked up three wins on the way to a 19 point championship lead.
Double race winner Will Stevens is his closest challenger, with Lewis Williamson, Tom Blomqvist and Harry Tincknell hovering close behind. 2010 has been a big year for Formula Renault, with the introduction of a new car for the series. The new car, featuring a lighter chassis, a more powerful, 2.0 litre, 210bhp engine and a seven-speed sequential gearbox, has been a challenge for drivers to adapt to, but has continued to provide quick, close, exciting racing for the drivers and fans alike.
The season started back in April at Thruxton, where it as Manor Competition driver Williamson who took the honour of the first pole position of the year. The first win of the season went the way of Pa'l Kiss, with Stevens and Tincknell rounding off the podium. In Race two, it was a Manor Competition one two, with Stevens leading Williamson home, with Tincknell again third.
Next stop was Rockingham, with Pa'l Kiss and Tincknell dominating rounds three and four. Pa'l Kiss took race one, with Tincknell close behind, while Atech GP's Marlon Stockinger took third for his first podium in the series. Roles were reversed in race two, with Tincknell leading home Pa'l Kiss, with Stevens this time completing the podium. As they left Rockingham, only 2 points separated Pa'l Kiss and Tincknell at the top of the standings.
The series moved on to Brands Hatch, where bad weather reeked havoc. Severe downpours left the series organisers deciding the track was too dangerous for the single seaters, forcing the postponement of Round five until later in the season. However by the end of the day, track conditions had improved, leaving Round Six able to run. It was Stevens who won, capitalising on a last lap mistake from team-mate Williamson, moving him to within five points of the championship lead. Pa'l Kiss finished second, with Blomqvist third, his first ever podium in the series.
At the next rounds at Oulton Park, Williamson was quick to put the disappointment of throwing away victory at Brands behind him by securing victory in Round Seven. He held off pressure from Blomqvist in second and Pa'l Kiss in third for the win. Round Eight went the way of Pa'l Kiss, with Blomqvist securing his third consecutive podium in second, with Tincknell coming third.
The series last stop before the summer break was at Croft. Round Nine went into the record books with victory for Stockinger, his first win the series and the first win ever in Formula Renault for a Filipino driver. Ollie Millroy picked up his first podium of the year with second, ahead of Blomqvist and Pa'l Kiss. Williamson followed on his Oulton success with another win in Round Ten, followed by Stockinger and Stevens, who secured his fifth podium of the year. In fourth place was returnee to the series Riki Christodoulou for CRS Racing.
As they enter the summer break, the standings look like this:
|1||Tama’s Pa’l Kiss||239|
|12||Alex Lynn (G)||81|
|15||Fabio Gamerini (G)||59|
The race to win the title is close and looking like it could go down to the wire, with the winner joining a prestigious list of former champions including current Formula One drivers Lewis Hamilton, Kimi Raikkonen and Pedro De La Rosa. Pa'l Kiss and Stevens look favourites, but a strong run from one of the chasing three could see them sneak there way in.
Here's our choice of three drivers to look out for over the second half of the season:
Tom Blomqvist – Blomqvist has been a revelation this season, despite at 16, being the championship's youngest competitor. Tom, son of rally legend Stig, has recorded two second place and two third place finishes so far this year, showing consistent quick pace all season. As we move into the second half of the year, a win certainly looks on the cards for Tom. He still has an outside chance for the title, so if he can convert his pace into wins, he will certainly be one to watch.
Ollie Millroy – Millroy has shown some good pace this season, picking up four top five finishes, best result being a second at Croft. He will be hoping to keep his momentum for the second half of the year and will be one to look out for as he aims for consistent top five finishes and possibly some more podiums.
Alex Lynn – 16 year old Lynn has had a very good season so far, picking up six Graduate Cup wins on the way to leading that class. He has finished in the top ten overall five times and will be looking to push on in the second half of the year, aiming to consistently finish in the top ten and secure the Graduate Cup title.