Chris Middlehurst completed a dream weekend at Thruxton with a lights-to-flag victory in Round Eight of the 2013 Protyre Formula Renault Championship.
After a last-gasp victory in the day’s earlier race, it was a much more comfortable success for Middlehurst in the final race of the weekend, the BRDC Rising Star breaking away from the pack just after mid-distance and streaking home to victory to make it three pole positions and three race wins for the weekend.
Just like in the first two races of the meeting, there was once again a chaotic start to the race, with six cars retiring in the opening four laps. Piers Hickin, Matt Rao and Edward Brand all went out on lap one, with Joe Ghanem, Wei Fung Thong and Pietro Fittipaldi following suit on lap four while battling in the top ten.
Fortunately for the Middlehurst though, there was no need for a safety car on either occasion, helping him to maintain his lead over fellow front-row starter Jake Cook, the fast-starting Weiron Tan and Ivan Taranov.
The demise of Ghanem, Thong and Fittipaldi meanwhile promoted Matias Galetto up to fifth ahead of Henrique Baptista and Hongwei Cao, the latter benefitting from the retirements to swiftly move up from thirteenth on the grid to seventh.
Also making good early progress was Cao’s Fortec Motorsport team-mate Sam MacLeod. Starting nineteenth after problems in qualifying, the Snetterton race-winner used the incidents in front, as well as good moves on Tom Oliphant and Diego Menchaca, to put himself into the top ten.
It didn’t last long for him though as he was forced into retirement on lap nine, bringing to an end a nightmare weekend for the Snetterton race-winner, who was only able to finish one of the races having been blighted by mechanical problems throughout the meeting.
At the front, Cook had spent the first half of the fifteen lap race right on Middlehurst’s tail, however as the battle for second intensified, Middlehurst was able to break the tow and edge away, leaving Cook to defend from Taranov and Tan, the duo having switched places on lap eight.
As Middlehurst streaked clear to win by 12.1 seconds, Cook held second until the final lap, when a brave move around the outside at Noble gave Tan the place. Cook finished third ahead of Taranov, however an incident after the chequered flag led to the Russian being excluded from the results.
This promoted Matias Galetto into fourth ahead of Cao and Baptista. Jorge Cevallos beat fellow Mexican Menchaca into seventh, while completing the finishers to round out the top ten were Oliphant and Shahan Sarkissian.
Full race results can be found here: http://tsl-timing.com/barc/2013/132223bfr.pdf
Provisional 2013 Protyre Formula Renault Championship Standings (after Rd8):
- Chris Middlehurst, 258pts
- Jake Cook, 162pts
- Jorge Cevallos, 141pts
- Weiron Tan, 129pts
- Hong Wei Cao, 114pts
- Joe Ghanem, 100pts