Tan Beats Cao To Take Maiden Renault Win

Weiron Tan overcame early race-leader Hongwei Cao to secure his first ever victory in the Protyre Formula Renault Championship in Round 9 at Croft, with Cao following him home to make it a Fortec Motorsport one-two.

Cao had earlier taken his maiden championship pole-position in qualifying and the Chinese racer led away from pole position, with Tan slotting into second ahead of Chris Middlehurst. Behind, there was to be disappointment for fellow Fortec racer Sam MacLeod though, an unfortunate spin ending his race and bringing out the safety car.

Cao managed the restart well and led away once again with Tan in close pursuit, the duo quickly building a small advantage over Middlehurst behind.

Cao held the lead as the race headed to mid-distance, the second-year driver pushing for a first-ever win in the series. On lap ten the lead changed though, with Tan, who had remained within a second of the leader throughout, making his move at Tower.

The Malaysian edged clear over the remaining seven laps to take his first series win by six seconds, with Cao left to match his career-best finish in second.

“First win of the season, I’m quite happy about that – the team has done a great job,” said Tan. “Cao defended great, I tried a few times around Sunny In and Tower as well but I realised I had to be a bit more patient to make the move and it went well. I think it was a really good battle between team-mates.”

Middlehurst fended off Jake Cook and Wei Fung Thong in the latter stages to complete the podium, with Cook having regained fourth on lap five after briefly losing the position to Thong on the previous lap.

Jorge Cevallos completed the top six, the Mexican taking the place from Pietro Fittipaldi at the hairpin on lap twelve, with the Brazilian following him home in seventh.

A driver making good progress in the midfield was Matt Rao. The Hillspeed racer moved up three places from fourteenth on the grid on the opening lap, before passing Joe Ghanem, Shahan Sarkissian and Henrique Baptista through the race to secure eighth at the finish.

Ghanem and Sarkissian completed the top ten, with Baptista left frustrated in eleventh, the Brazilian having worked his way up to eighth before falling back three places on the final lap. Jesse Anttila meanwhile took fourteenth on his race debut with Cliff Dempsey Racing, while fellow Finn Atte Lehtonen finished up sixteenth, last of the finishers, on his return to the series with SWB Motorsport.

Full race results can be found here: http://tsl-timing.com/barc/2013/132721bfr.pdf