2nd Win of the Season Boost Points Lead

Chris Middlehurst conquered very challenging conditions at a rain-lashed Snetterton 200 Circuit this afternoon, Saturday, 11th May, to claim his second victory of the Protyre Formula Renault season during the first of the weekend’s three races – boosting his series lead to 34 points.

2nd Win of the Season Boost Points Lead

Although starting round three from pole position, it was by no means a
straightforward outing for the Chris with a now family trademark sluggish
getaway dropping him to third place off the line. With a bit of assistance from
a mid-race Safety Car period though, added to searing fastest lap pace, the
championship leader was able to fight his way back through the spray to win by
2.4 seconds. 

“On the green flag lap I stalled so I thought I’d give it more
revs for the actual start but it was too much, I had a lot of wheelspin and
dropped to third”, explained Middlehurst, “I had to fight back then to get back
into the lead, the Safety Car helped me out though.

“Before the Safety Car it was so, so wet out there and there was
a lot of spray so it was really tricky to see where you were going. Down the
straights you had to pull to the side to try and see where the corner was, the
spray was really bad. It was a good race, I’m really pleased with the

Hillspeed’s Jake Cook and MTECH Lite’s Matias Galetto each secured their
first career Protyre Formula Renault podium finishes in second and third
respectively. Cook scythed his way through from eighth on the grid with a superb
performance while Argentinian competitor Galetto, racing in the UK for the first
time this year, was equally outstanding from 11th on the grid to third.

Image One - Rd 3 Podium Snetterton

“Once I got into second, I caught Chris [Middlehurst] pretty quickly but I
didn’t really have the confidence to carry any more speed to try and do
anything”, said Cook, “With starting eighth, and being the first time I’ve ever
been on these wet tyres, I’d have been well happy with this result before the
race. I didn’t want to chuck that away, I’m happy enough with second.”

The onset of heavy rain 15 minutes prior to the scheduled start of round
three led to a delay but when the action did get underway, MTECH’s Joe Ghanem
made the most of Middlehurst’s issues to shoot past into the lead. MGR’s Jorge
Cevallos also enjoyed a good launch to leap from fourth, past Chris Middlehurst
and the stalled Fortec Motorsports car of Sam MacLeod, to take second.

At the end of the first lap, Lebanese driver Ghanem had built a one second
advantage over Mexican rival Cevallos who had Chris Middlehurst swarming all
over the back of his FR 2.0 as the points leader sought to quickly make amends
for his troublesome getaway. Behind the lead trio, Cook had climbed into fourth
with Hong Wei Cao (Stoke-on-Trent) fifth and Galetto up into sixth.

On lap three, Cevallos’ challenge hit the skids when he slipped to the tail
of the top six which opened the way for Chris Middlehurst to try and close in on
Ghanem – but the leader was 2.9 seconds clear at the start of the fourth tour
and looked impressive in the tricky conditions.

His hard-earned buffer didn’t last much longer though when the Safety Car was
deployed in time for the start of lap six, triggered by an excursion at Montreal
for Scorpio Motorsport’s Henrique Baptista. The Safety Car departed the track at
the end of lap nine and the action resumed with Ghanem under huge pressure from
Chris Middlehurst.

Running almost side by side through Riches, Chris Middlehurst made his move
on the brakes at Montreal to grab the lead which he didn’t relinquish. Ghanem,
though, made a slight mistake at Chapman and just clipped the rear-wheel of
Chris Middlehurst’s car – leading to front wing damage which ultimately cost the
erstwhile race leader a deserved podium finish.

Image Two - Chris Middlehurst Winning Rd3


Cook grabbed second from Ghanem at the Esses on lap 11 and initially closed
on Middlehurst before settling for an excellent runner-up spot. Galetto also
continued his superb progress and having already moved into fourth ahead of Cao
he took third from Ghanem at Coram on lap 14 when the latter went slightly wide
due to his worsening lack of downforce.

“It was a very good race, I was fast and consistent”, said Galetto, “I gained
more and more positions and finally took third from Joe [Ghanem]. I only ever
had one race in karting in the rain, this is my first experience in cars.”

During the final few laps, rain started to fall again so Chris Middlehurst,
Cook and Galetto didn’t take any risks and ran fairly well spread to the
chequered flag on lap 19. Ghanem slipped further back to fifth behind Cao at the
chicane on the penultimate tour but an excursion for the Chinese driver on the
final lap dropped him outside the top 10.

Ghanem too encountered last lap difficulties when his front wing finally
detached itself completely from his car, causing him to run off the circuit
across the grass at Coram. He managed to control the moment though and rejoined
to take fifth behind Scorpio’s Ivan Taranov. Cevallos rounded out the top six to
maintain his place in the championship top three.

“It could have been a win today, before the Safety Car I had a big lead”,
reflected the unfortunate Ghanem, “Chris [Middlehurst] had enough room to pass
on the inside at turn two after the Safety Car, I misjudged my turning when he
overtook me and clipped my front wing with his rear tyre. It was really
unfortunate but we know we have the pace and we are strong.”

Fortec’s Weiron Tan starred with seventh place, having started at the back of
the grid following an excursion in qualifying, while MGR’s Tom Oliphant battled
back from a stall into eighth ahead of team-mate Matteo Ferrer and MTECH’s Ed

Written by Gazmo1 at 00:00
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