Ivan Taranov secured his first-ever victory in the Protyre Formula Renault Championship with a dominant success in Round 15 at Silverstone.
The Russian, who has spent the last three months on the sidelines, took the win in a chaotic encounter, with early incidents claiming 2013 champion Chris Middlehurst amongst others.
Taranov led the way in qualifying earlier in the day, securing his first pole position in the championship, and the Scorpio Motorsport ace maintained his lead around the first turn.
The first couple of laps were nothing short of breath-taking, with Taranov, fellow front-row starter Sam MacLeod and Weiron Tan dicing wheel-to-wheel, with MacLeod emerging in front at the end of the opening lap, Taranov slipping to third.
MacLeod was able to lead the first portion of the race before Taranov got back ahead on lap five, with MacLeod and Tan soon looking at a looming Jake Cook in their mirrors.
Fighting back from seventh at the end of the opening lap, the Hillspeed racer gained an early place at the expense of MacLeod, after contact from team-mate Wei Fung Thong resulting in a damaged front suspension and a luckless retirement.
Cook quickly dispatched Tan too and briefly looked like he would challenge Taranov for the lead, but as the race settled down, the leader was able to edge clear and take his maiden victory, ending a 28 month winning drought for former champions Scorpio.
“We had quite a difficult year so it’s great to come back like this, with our first win,” said a delighted Taranov. “I really want to say a huge thank you to my team, Scorpio Motorsport, because they gave me a fantastic car – almost all of the credit for this win goes to them. For the whole year we knew we had the speed but we didn’t get a chance to show it, now to win the race it feels so great.”
Cook secured second, setting the fastest lap of the race in the process, while Tan made it eight podiums in nine races with third, further cementing his second place in the championship standings.
Behind them, an early duel between Middlehurst and Hongwei Cao ended in tears, their robust battle ending when the champion was forced off the road coming out of Copse, front-end damage from a trip across the grass ending his race.
Cao emerged unscatched and was able to bring his Fortec Motorsport-repaired FR 2.0 home in fourth, while Jorge Cevallos climbed through from tenth on the grid to finish fifth, with Pietro Fittipaldi completing the top six.
Piers Hickin was a career-best seventh on his first weekend racing with Scorpio, his team-mate Henrique Baptista also looking like a potential top ten finisher were it not for an opening lap retirement. The Brazilian made contact with Matt Rao at Copse on lap two, the incident sending Rao into the wall at high-speed and retiring both on the spot.
Shahan Sarkissian took eighth after a great drive through from seventeenth on the grid, with series debutant Ashley Crossey and Matteo Ferrer rounding out the top ten.
Full race results can be found here: http://tsl-timing.com/toca/2013/133903bfr.pdf