Ivan Taranov completed his dream finish to the 2013 Protyre Formula Renault Championship with a second win in the final rounds of the season at Silverstone.
The Russian racer benefitted from a chaotic opening lap to storm into the lead and as rivals hit drama behind, the Scorpio Motorsport ace stormed away to take his second victory of the weekend, completing a perfect return after missing the last three months of the campaign.
Wei Fung Thong started the race, which was televised live on ITV4, from pole position, however a slow getaway for the poleman meant he was swamped heading into Copse, with Chris Middlehurst taking the lead from Weiron Tan.
The lead was short-lived however, with an attempted move from Tan around the outside leading to contact. While vice-champion Tan spun around and champion Middlehurst running wide in retirement with steering damage, Taranov stormed through to seize the lead.
The action continued coming out of Brooklands, a spin for Thong causing the field to scatter, with Henrique Baptista the unlucky driver to make contact with a rival as he swerved in avoidance, the Brazilian’s race ending on the spot.
As the safety car came out to allow for the retrieval of Baptista’s sticken machine, his Scorpio team-mate led the field, with Sam MacLeod emerging from the first lap chaos in second ahead of Jorge Cevallos, Piers Hickin and Hongwei Cao.
Hickin in particular benefitted from the action to rise from eleventh to fourth, though it came at a cost, with contact after Thong’s spin causing slight damage. This meant that as the action resumed, Hickin was left defending from behind.
Hongli Yee tried to use this to his benefit and take a place at Becketts, however the Fortec driver broke to late and stormed past Hickin, collecting Jake Cook in front in the process, ending both driver’s races.
Ahead, MacLeod was keeping Taranov honest, but with the Fortec man unable to forge an overtaking opportunity, the Russian led the remainder to bring the 2013 Formula Renault season to a close with victory.
“I knew we had the pace but, as I said yesterday, the races are quite unpredictable so you never know if things will work out,” said Taranov. “Obviously, it feels great and I want to say a huge thank you to Scorpio – they’ve been great all year. We didn’t have an opportunity to show what we could do earlier in the season, then I had to miss some races, but now we’re back and we’ve won.”
MacLeod took second to cap off a rollercoaster season, with the last nine races now having produced three podium finishes and six retirements, while his Fortec team-mate Cao completed the podium, having passed Cevallos shortly after the safety car interlude.
A great recovery drive from Thong saw him take fifth at the flag, the Hong Kong racer producing a stunning move around the outside of Pietro Fittipaldi at Brooklands on lap fourteen, the Brazilian completing the top six.
Ashley Crossey completed an impressive debut weekend with his second top ten finish in seventh, the Core Motorsport racer leading home Shahan Sarkissian and fellow debutant Alex Gill. The top ten was rounded out by Atte Lehtonen, with a struggling Hickin and Tan completing the finishers.
Full race results can be found here: http://tsl-timing.com/toca/2013/133903bfr.pdf
Provisional Final 2013 Protyre Formula Renault Championship Standings:
1. Chris Middlehurst – 408pts
2. Weiron Tan – 331pts
3. Jorge Cevallos – 307pts
4. Hongwei Cao – 296pts
5. Jake Cook – 292pts
6. Sam MacLeod – 169pts
7. Joe Ghanem – 166pts
8. Pietro Fittipaldi – 163pts
9. Henrique Baptista – 158pts
10. Shahan Sarkissian – 146pts