After four hard fought races at Brands Hatch and Donington Park, the fight for honours in the Formula Renault 2.0 UK Championship now heads to the quickest circuit on the calendar for round three of the season at Thruxton (30 April-1 May).
Heading to the high-speed Hampshire circuit, Atech Reid GP driver Tio Ellinas (Cyprus) leads the way after moving into the provisional championship lead following his maiden victory in the second race at Donington Park.
Ellinas’ team-mate Oscar King (Stratford-upon-Avon) arrives at Thruxton sitting eighth in the championship and third in the Graduate Cup on the back of his best finish to date – seventh place – in the fourth race of the year.
Fortec Motorsport’s charge is led by Alex Lynn and Oliver Rowland who will again be joined by Mitchell Gilbert (Twickenham) and Pedro Pablo Calbimonte (Bolivia) for the Thruxton weekend; one which will be a challenge for those drivers appearing at the circuit for the first time.
“Thruxton is a different challenge compared to Brands Hatch or Donington and I think the racing will be close with the long straights and only two real corners,” Gilbert said. “It was quite a scary circuit when I went there for the first time and you are flat out for a lot of the lap!
“We were quick there when we tested and I think we should be strong as a team when we return for the race weekend.”
Mark Burdett Motorsport’s Jack Hawksworth (Bradford), took his second podium finish of the year at Donington and is now third in the championship standings, just three points behind Lynn and 20 behind leader Ellinas.
A fourth straight top five finish at Donington Park leaves Ollie Millroy (Claygate) as the leading Manor Competition driver heading into the weekend.
Manor claimed three podium finishes at the Hampshire circuit last year, including a 1-2 finish in the second race, leaving Millroy optimistic of taking the team to the top of the podium for the first time this season.
“Thruxton is a wicked track and the quickest we go to on the calendar,” he said. “Manor took a 1-2 finish there last season so we know the team is strong at Thruxton and I’m really looking forward to it.
“Thruxton is a circuit where it’s high-speed and high grip, and that should suit us more than Brands Hatch and Donington Park where it was lower speed and there was less grip.”
Formula Ford graduate Josh Hill (Farnham) and Jordan King (Harbury) complete Manor’s line-up alongside the only female racer on the grid Alice Powell (Chipping Norton), who returns to the circuit where she wrapped up the 2010 Formula Renault BARC title seeking to maintain her position at the head of the Graduate Cup standings.
The Thruxton entry list is completed by Antel Motorsport’s Dan Wells (Salisbury), who goes into his home event chasing a third top ten finish of the year.
“There are only the two real braking zones and then its flat out for much of the lap, and the fast and flowing nature of the circuit suits my driving style,” he said.
“It’s great feeling when you go round Church and rumble over the kerb on the inside, especially when you are in the tow of the car in front. I think the racing will be exciting and there should be a bit more action than we have seen in the races so far. I’m looking forward to it and my aim is to be right in the mix.”
Round three of the Formula Renault 2.0 UK Championship gets underway with two qualifying sessions on Saturday April 30 followed by race one at 17:40. Race two takes place on Sunday May 1 at 15:05.