Chris Middlehurst denied Weiron Tan a maiden Protyre Formula Renault Championship win on the final lap of an entertaining Round Seven at Thruxton, the championship leader taking his fifth win of the campaign so far.
Following on from yesterday’s chaotic opening encounter, this race proved to be yet another action-packed affair, with Middlehurst fighting back after losing the lead twice to grab his second win of the weekend.
Middlehurst started the race from pole position and got a good getaway to lead through Allard for the first time, but heading into the complex a quick-starting Tan burst through into the lead, having started fourth, with Ivan Taranov elbowing the championship leader down to third.
Middlehurst re-took second heading in the final chicane, and quickly set about chasing down Tan in front, going on to grab the lead at the chicane on lap five just before the safety car came out to neutralise the action.
It was required to allow for the safe retrieval of Edward Brand’s car from the outskirts of Village, the MTECH Lite driver becoming the second driver on the retirement list after Jorge Cevallos had to pull out on the warm up lap with electrical problems.
When racing resumed on lap nine, a great move from Tan into the complex saw him re-gain the lead, with Middlehurst briefly slipping back to third behind Taranov at the final chicane, however a slow exit for the Russian allowed Middlehurst and Jake Cook to force their way ahead.
This fighting allowed Tan to break into a near four second lead, however this was slashed on lap thirteen when the safety car emerged again, this time for a tangle between Wei Fung Thong and Diego Menchaca that ended both their races.
It left the action again with just a three lap sprint to the finish remaining. After briefly losing second to Cook, Middlehurst began closing down the leader and a great run out of Church on the final lap allowed to squeeze through into the chicane and steal the victory.
Tan took second, with Cook just fending Joe Ghanem for third, with Taranov losing ground in that battle to finish fifth ahead of his Scorpio Motorsport team-mate Henrique Baptista, the Brazilian having produced a strong drive from eleventh on the grid.
Matt Rao took eighth ahead of Hongwei Cao, the Chinese racer having stormed through from eighteenth on the grid. Also making strong progress was his Fortec team-mate Sam MacLeod, the rookie overcoming a race one retirement to finish ninth ahead of Shahan Sarkissian, Tom Oliphant and Pietro Fittipaldi.
Full race results can be found here: http://tsl-timing.com/barc/2013/132223bfr.pdf