The Grid.co.uk the national & club motor racing website - est1998
Next on the calendar for Renault Sport UK’s championships will be the upcoming Winter Series which begins on Saturday, 31st October, at Snetterton in Norfolk and concludes a week later at Rockingham in Northamptonshire on Saturday, 7th November.
Final 2009 Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship drivers’ standings
1st Kieren Clark GBR Apotex Scorpio Motorsport 324
2nd Ahmad Al Harthy OMA Hillspeed 287
3rd Dino Zamparelli GBR Reon Motorsport/MTECH 286
4th Josh Mulholland GBR Alpine Motorsport 277
5th Brett Parris GBR Antel Motorsport 270
6th James Theodore GBR Hillspeed 189
Final 2009 Privateer Cup standings
1st Steven Durrant GBR 116
2nd Andrew Jarman GBR 109
3rd Alex Craven GBR 41
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MULHOLLAND & ZAMPARELLI SHARE WINS AT RAIN-LASHED FINALE
Josh Mulholland from Northern Ireland and Bristol’s Dino Zamparelli shared the wins during a rain-lashed final meeting of the 2009 Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship on Sunday, 11th October, at Thruxton Circuit near Andover.
In the tight four-way battle for the coveted Runner-up spot in the Chammpionship though, both lost out to Hillspeed’s Omani racer Ahmad Al Harthy(right) who clinched the runner-up spot by just a single point thanks to a season’s best brace of second place finishes in rounds 12 and 13, coupled with the crucial bonus points for fastest lap in each encounter.
Steven Durrant, meanwhile, overturned a 10-point deficit to chief Privateer Cup rival Andrew Jarman to take the 2009 class title in tremendous style with a career best fifth position overall in the last of the weekend’s races. Earlier, in-form Durrant had put Jarman under huge pressure with an equally impressive top six finish in round 12.
Recently crowned Protyre Formula Renault BARC Champion Kieren Clark, was in attendance with his Apotex Scorpio Motorsport team but didn’t compete.
Mulholland secures second victory in as many races
During the combined qualifying session for the season finale, Mulholland secured pole position for both races with a stunning run during the dying minutes – laps of 1m13.873 seconds (114.81mph) and 1m13.958 seconds enabling the Alpine Motorsport racer to usurp Zamparelli from the top spot.
Prior to the start of round 12, the skies opened to make the already demanding 2.35-mile Hampshire speed-bowl even more of a challenge for the single-seater aces. From pole position, Mulholland got too much wheelspin and immediately slipped to fourth place as Antel Motorsport’s Brett Parris (Southampton) brilliantly surged into an early lead at his home track from fourth on the grid.
Into the complex for the first time, Parris led Reon Motorsport/MTECH driver Zamparelli, Al Harthy and Mulholland with James Theodore in fifth ahead of Apotex Scorpio’s sole representative Joe Crook in sixth. Towards the end of the lap though, Mulholland was right on the tail of Al Harthy and grabbed third place up the inside at Club Chicane.
He immediately set after Zamparelli and by the end of the second tour Mulholland had moved into second place as Al Harthy followed him through into third at the chicane. At this point, Parris’ lead was around 0.8 seconds but Mulholland’s charge was tempered when Al Harthy produced a superb move around the outside into Club to re-take second position.
While the top three battle heated-up, fourth placed Zamparelli began to fall into the clutches of Theodore with Crook an increasingly distant sixth. Mulholland grabbed second place again on lap four and as he started to get back on terms with the race leader, Parris suffered dreadful misfortune when an alternator problem forced him to slow before retiring to the pits at the end of the fifth tour.
Therefore, Mulholland assumed the lead from Al Harthy and Zamparelli with Theodore ever-present in fourth, Crook a lonely fifth and Privateer Cup runner Durrant a highly impressive sixth ahead of outstanding category debutant Luke Wright in seventh and David Sutton in eighth. The order remained unchanged the chequered flag on lap 12.
Speaking after the race, victor Mulholland said: “I really enjoyed it in those conditions, it was a lot like a kart race. I was a little bit worried about Ahmad towards the end as he was coming back to me but the closest he could get was at the complex – there was nowhere else he was close enough. It’s fantastic to take two wins on the bounce after winning at Rockingham last time out, I’m delighted.”
Zamparelli ends year on a high with third win of 2009
Round 13 started with the same top four as the earlier encounter, Mulholland on pole ahead of Zamparelli, Al Harthy and Parris. Once again, Mulholland was unable to make the most of his qualifying heroics as he fell behind Zamparelli but he did fend off Al Harthy for second through Allard until the Hillspeed driver managed to get ahead through the back section of the circuit.
The race leader, benefitting from clear vision as his rivals struggled with huge amounts of spray as rain continued to fall, quickly opened up a healthy advantage. Behind, Al Harthy held second – as Mulholland fell down the order into sixth after a contact-induced spin at the ultra-fast Goodwood corner – with Parris moving into third and Crook taking fourth ahead of privateer Durrant.
Into lap two, Zamparelli’s lead was already a huge 1.7 seconds and he increased his advantage to an incredible 9.3 seconds by the end of lap six as his pursuers appeared to have no answer to his sheer dominance. On the eighth tour though, Al Harthy started to hit back and after posting a couple of fastest laps he began to take chunks of time out of Zamparelli’s lead.
Over the course of the final four laps, Al Harthy continued to close at a rapid rate but Zamparelli was too far ahead and he took the win – the third of his maiden season in the category – by just under four seconds. Ironically Al Harthy, a driver from one of the hottest, most arid parts of the world, was in his element yet again in the difficult, wet conditions.
Taking second place and with it the fastest lap of 1m20.132 seconds (105.84mph), Al Harthy claimed the Vice-Champion’s position in the driver standings by one point from the round 13 race winner. Parris went someway to making amends for his race one disappointment with third place ahead of Crook in fourth and Durrant in fifth – the latter doing well to keep a very rapid Theodore at bay.
Series rookie Wright was highly impressive once again in seventh place ahead of Sutton in eighth, Archie Hamilton in ninth and Jarman rounding out the top 10. Mulholland, meanwhile, failed to finish after a last-lap excursion while running in the top five.
Reflecting on his victory and the campaign as a whole, Zamparelli said: “I’ve learnt so much this season and to end the year with a win is perfect. Thanks to all the guys at MTECH who have done an amazing job all year, it’s great to have had so much success in my debut season. Hopefully I’ll be able to step-up to Formula Renault UK next year but we need to work very hard on the sponsorship side.”
Runner-up Al Harthy commented: “I’m really happy to have ended the year as Vice-Champion, it’s a big achievement for me and even more important as I had a lot of guests from Oman here. Every lap I could push and push, the car was amazing to drive and the team has done an incredible job for me. It’s my best set of results since I started racing, Thruxton is a very special circuit for me.”
Third placed Parris said: “Overall, I’m leaving Thruxton pretty disappointed really. After the first race we knew second in the championship was out of the question and although it’s good to be on the podium, to end the year without a win is gutting. The first race was the nail in the coffin for the championship, it was so disappointing to have the alternator problem while leading.”
Top privateer Durrant added: “It’s great to win the Privateer’s Cup as it was always the target for this season. It’s especially good for us with the team having never run this particular type of car before, they’ve done a superb job all season and I’d like to think I’ve done a good job getting the most out of the car. This gives me a good base to start from next year.”
CLARK CROWNED PROTYRE SERIES CHAMPION AT ROCKINGHAM
Northamptonshire’s Rockingham Motor Speedway saw Apotex Scorpio Motorsport’s Kieren Clark crowned the 2009 Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship winner during two dramatic rounds (10 and 11) on September 5th/6th. Twenty-year-old Clark, who has dominated the one-make single-seater series since the season got underway in May, wrapped up the title with two rounds still left to run and handing his team its second consecutive driver title.
Round 10 saw Clark pick up his eighth win of the season to leave him needing just seven points in round 11 to put him out of reach of his nearest rival Reon Motorsport’s Dino Zamparelli. However, the weekend’s second race saw the two front-runners make contact at Turn 1 on the 1.940-mile International circuit forcing them both to retire and automatically awarding Clark the title.
“That’s certainly not how I wanted to win the title and in fact it feels very hollow,” commented Clark immediately after the race. “I was really looking forward to battling it out with Dino [Zamparelli] in round 11 but it wasn’t to be.”
With the championship title decided, Alpine Motorsport’s Josh Mulholland was free to secure his maiden victory in round 11 with the remaining round 11 podiums going to Antel Motorsport’s Brett Parris, who also picked up third place in round 10, and Hillspeed’s Ahmad Al Harthy (OMA). The final podium in round 10 went to Zamparelli (second) while the privateer cup honours both went to Oxford’s Steven Durrant.
Clark wins title in dramatic fashion...
With Clark needing just seven points to secure the title, anticipation grew for the start of the 14-lap round 11. Following Saturday’s qualifying session, 16-year-old Zamparelli lined the start grid as pole-sitter with Clark alongside him on the front row. Mulholland lined up on row two having Hillspeed’s James Theodore for company.
As the lights went out, Clark got the better start to go side-by-side with the Ginetta Junior Champion into Turn 1. With the two so close, contact followed ending both drivers’ races and handing Clark the title. Meanwhile, Mulholland had been able to avoid the incident to move into the lead followed by Theodore, Al Harthy, Parris and Welch Motorsport’s Kourosh Khani in fifth place.
Mulholland had little time to build a lead though as the Safety Car was deployed on lap two following the earlier incident before racing resumed with its extended distance of 15 laps. Despite having never led before or done a restart, Mulholland got away well to lead again and quickly looked at ease at the head of the field.
As the race continued, Mulholland was starting to pull away from Theodore while in the midfield, Team Avago’s David Sutton was looking strong as was Apotex Scorpio Motorsport’s Joe Crook who was steadily working his way from the back of the field after a spin in qualifying saw him start from the back of the grid.
By the halfway stage, second-place Theodore looked to be gaining on Mulholland and even set the fastest lap of the race before he made a mistake at Pif Paf dropping him to the back of the field. In the privateer battle Durrant had been able to get ahead of Jarman to move into the lead before going on to set the privateer fastest lap earning him two extra championship points.
Out in front, 20-year-old Mulholland was looking neat and tidy through the purpose built International circuit and on course for his first win. Parris, who had earlier been able to get by Al Harthy, was now running in second after Theodore’s spin with the Omani driver in third and Khani in a season best fourth. Further down the field, a mistake by Crook at Gracelands saw him undo his previous good work to lie in 10th place.
Race leader Mulholland though was certainly not making any mistakes and with the chequered flag in sight, he guided his Alpine Motorsport car through the last corner and across the start/finish line to collect the victory and become only the third different driver this season to win a race. Parris finished second and his second podium of the weekend with Al Harthy in third and Khani in fourth. Sutton rounded off the top five and a season best while Durrant finished ninth and the leading privateer racer.
Action-packed round 10...
Sunday’s earlier round 10 saw Clark line up on the start grid as pole-sitter, his eighth of the season, with Zamparelli alongside him on the front row followed by Mulholland and Parris.
As the lights went out it was the Bristol teenager who made the best start to briefly lead from Clark until Kieren resumed authority through the tight first corner having held the inside line. Behind the front two, Parris had also been able to get the jump on Mulholland at the start to move into third while in the midfield a flying first lap by Khani saw him shoot into fifth from 10th on the grid.
The opening few laps saw Zamparelli right on the pace shadowing Clark around the Rockingham circuit. Khani, who had been running strong in fifth, had now dropped down a place after Theodore darted up the inside going into Deene to move himself into the top five. Just behind, Al Harthy was showing great pace by taking seventh placed Durrant at Turn 1 on lap five although the following lap the Omani driver overshot Deene forcing him to leave the track before rejoining.
Lap seven saw a brief Safety Car period to recover the privateer car of Alex Craven who had been unable to avoid Andrew Jarman’s spinning car at the exit of Deene. With one lap added to the original 14-lap distance, Clark made a good restart – who later commented that he’d taken inspiration from watching footage of Adam Christodoulou restarting a race in 2008 – to lead once more followed by Zamparelli who had now dropped back slightly into the clutches of Parris and Mulholland.
With no change in the top five, in the midfield positions were still changing with Durrant taking Joe Crook at Deene and Al Harthy also getting the better of Khani at the same corner. A few laps later, Crook tried hard to retake the place from Durrant at Tarzan but the privateer driver moved across to defend the inside line and hold the position.
As the race entered its final stages, Clark was continuing to push setting the fastest lap of the race and on his way to maximum championship points. Meanwhile behind, Zamparelli had recovered from his poor restart to stay ahead of Parris, Mulholland and Telford racer Theodore.
A few laps later, Clark cleanly exited Brooks for the final time to take the chequered flag and his eighth win of the season with Zamparelli in second and Parris taking the final podium spot. Mulholland finished fourth with Theodore picking up his first ever top five finish while Durrant picked up the privateer cup honours as well as two points for the fastest privateer lap.
Commenting on his weekend and his title win Clark said: “No one likes to win the title by default but I’m happy to have finally secured it and overall I’m pleased with how this year has gone for me and for the team who have been fantastic. I’m already thinking about plans for 2010 and I’m hoping to move into the national-level Formula Renault UK series although that depends on budget. I’m currently in talks with two sponsors – Motorsport Insurance and Circuit Guides – so we’ll see how that develops.”
Commenting on his maiden victory, Mulholland said: “I’m really pleased with the win. It’s been the first time we’ve really had the pace and everything just seemed to be working well with the car. I only just managed to avoid getting caught up between Dino and Kieren and after that it was just a case of not making any mistakes.”
Double podium winner Parris said: “We’ve had good pace all weekend and it certainly showed. With everyone so evenly matched it’s always difficult to overtake but to come away with two podiums is great for us.”
Second-place in round 10 Zamparelli, commented: “In the first race I got a great start and was nearly able to convert it on the first lap but I outbraked myself going into Deene which meant I lost out. In round 11 I obviously knew Kieren was very close to winning the title but I was just focusing on trying to win the race but it wasn’t to be. The BARC series is a fantastic championship and has been a great learning curve for me.”
Third place in round 11, Al Harthy said: “It’s been a very tough weekend for us as we’ve struggled with pace a little but it’s great to finish on the podium especially as it’s been a while since my last.”
CLARK RETURNS TO WINNING WAYS AT BRANDS HATCH
Apotex Scorpio Motorsport’s Kieren Clark returned to his winning ways in the 2009 Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship with a double victory during rounds eight and nine at Brands Hatch Indy circuit on August 22nd/23rd. The 20-year-old produced two lights-to-flag victories, together with two fastest laps, to extend his lead over Reon Motorsport’s Dino Zamparelli – the only driver to have beaten Clark this season – to a sizeable 89-points.
Zamparelli himself picked up a double podium with a third (round eight) and second during a sun-soaked weekend to move him into second place in the drivers’ standings. Clark’s team-mate Joe Crook picked up his first podium of the season in round eight (second) to give the Leicestershire team their first one-two finish, while Antel Motorsport’s Archie Hamilton rounded off the podium honours with third in round nine and his best result of 2009.
In the Privateer Cup, Northampton racer Andrew Jarman claimed a double win around the 1.1986-mile circuit to increase his lead over Oxford’s Steven Durrant to 25-points.
Clark returns to best...
Cloudless skies and glorious sunshine greeted competitors for the start of the 25-lap round nine. Following Saturday’s qualifying session, championship leader Clark lined the start grid as pole-sitter – his seventh of the season – with Alpine Motorsport’s Josh Mulholland alongside him on the front row. Zamparelli, fresh on the back of his double win at Donington Park earlier this month, began the race in third with Crook in fourth.
As the lights went out it was Clark who took full advantage of his pole-position to lead the field into Paddock Hill Bend followed by Zamparelli after a poor start by Mulholland dropped him well down the order. Despite starting in sixth, Hamilton – grandson of Le Mans star Duncan – had moved up to third by the end of the first lap with Hillspeed’s Ahmad Al Harthy (OMA) in fourth and Hamilton’s team-mate Brett Parris in fifth. The opening lap also saw contact between Crook and Parris at Graham Hill Bend causing an early end to Crook’s race.
By the opening few laps Clark was already building a sizeable cushion over the British/Italian racer while third-place Hamilton was having to work hard to keep the more experienced Al Harthy and Parris in his rear view mirrors.
In the midfield, Welch Motorsport’s Kourosh Khani was running well in eighth place as was Team Avago’s David Sutton in ninth.
As Clark and Zamparelli continued to pull away, Hamilton was coming under increasing pressure from the chasing back while behind them Mulholland was trying hard to make up for his earlier poor start.
On lap nine, Parris darted up the inside of Al Harthy at Paddock Hill Bend to grab fourth place only for the 20-year-old to hand it back to the Omani driver a few laps later whilst attempting to pass Hamilton on the same corner.
Out in front there was no change in the lead as Clark continued to push and setting the fastest lap of the race with a time of 47.093s (91.62mph average) on lap 14. With Zamparelli running comfortable in second, the focus of the race centred around the battle for the remaining podium place with the inexperienced Hamilton doing well to keep the three-car train of Al Harthy, Parris and now Hillspeed’s James Theodore (Telford) behind him.
Meanwhile in the Privateer Cup, Durrant had been on course for the win until a spin handed the place to Jarman and promoting Roberto Tirone and Alex Craven into second and third respectively.
As the race entered its final stages, there was little Zamparelli could do to stop Clark from taking the chequered flag and his seventh victory leaving the 16-year-old to settle for second. Hamilton, who had driven superbly all race, held on to cross the line in third and secure his first visit to the podium this season with Al Harthy in fourth and Parris in fifth.
Apotex make it one-two...
Round eight held earlier on the Sunday saw an all Apotex Scorpio Motorsport front-row with Clark in P1 and team-mate Crook (left) alongside him after securing his best qualifying result of the season so far.
As the lights went out it was Clark who made the best start to lead the field into the first corner followed by Crook, Al Harthy and Zamparelli. Meanwhile a stall by Bamboo Engineering’s Don De Graaff saw the 18-year-old drop further down the order as the rest of the field safely navigated his stationary car.
By the end of the first lap Clark was already looking dominant while behind Khani had been able to make up two places to lie in sixth with Sutton also running strong in eighth from 10th on the grid. The following lap, Khani made yet another place by getting the better of Mulholland at Druids to move into the top five. Meanwhile behind, Theodore and Sutton were battling hard with the Telford racer eventually getting the better of Sutton at the same hairpin.
Out in front, Clark was continuing to extend his lead to more than three seconds after just one-fifth race distance. Crook was running well in second with Al Harthy in third although the Omani driver was coming under increasing pressure from Zamparelli. Behind the top four, a determined Mulholland had been able to retake fifth place from Khani with a move around Druids.
As the field started lap nine, Zamparelli got a good run out of Paddock Hill Bend to be able to slip by Al Harthy and move the former Ginetta Junior Champion into a podium place.
There was no change up front though with Clark continuing to increase his lead – as well as setting the fastest lap of the race on lap 16 – and even start to lap back-markers. Crook was looking comfortable in second although a determined Zamparelli was now starting to close the gap on the 21-year-old.
With the race entering its final few stages Clark’s lead was more than 10 seconds over Crook who now had Zamparelli right behind him after running wide a few laps earlier. Unfortunately for Dino, the chequered flag came to early allowing Crook to hold onto second – his best result of 2009 – and Clark to take the win and hand the Apotex Scorpio team its first one-two. Zamparelli crossed the line in third with Al Harthy in fourth and Mulholland rounding off the top five. Durrant finished 14th and the leading privateer driver.
Commenting on his performance at the weekend Clark said: “It’s been a fantastic weekend for me and for the team and great to see Joe alongside me on the podium. Although it might have looked easy, I had to keep pushing in both races as I know how quick the others, especially Dino, can be. I was a little concerned my tyres might start to fade in the heat but they held together well in the end.”
Commenting on his performance Zamparelli said: “I’m pleased with this weekend as we still had the pace that we showed at Donington. In round eight I kept pushing Joe and think I could have had a chance of passing him but I ran out of laps. Clark was just really on the pace in round nine but I’m pleased to be on the podium again.”
Second-place in round eight Crook commented: “I’m delighted with my first podium and great to make it one-two for the team. I did have a bit of a moment towards the end of the race which allowed Dino to close the gap but I managed to keep control and hang onto the place.”
Commenting on his first podium of the season, a jubilant Hamilton added: “It was hard work keeping the likes of Brett and Ahmad behind me but I’m absolutely thrilled to be on the podium and looking forward to the next meeting.”
ZAMPARELLI ENDS CLARK’S UNBEATEN RUN WITH DONINGTON DOUBLE
Reon Motorsport’s Dino Zamparelli produced two stunning drives during rounds six and seven of the 2009 Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship at Donington Park on August 8th/9th to secure a double victory and end Apotex Scorpio Motorsport’s Kieren Clark’s) unbeaten run. The 16-year-old former Ginetta Junior champion claimed two lights-to-flag victories around the 1.9573-mile National circuit to move him into fifth place in the drivers’ standings.
Runaway Championship leader Clark endured a poor weekend by his standards with a second (round six) and fourth place, although the 20-year-old still leads the title race with a margin of 62-points over new nearest rival Alpine Motorsport’s Josh Mulholland who picked up two third places. The final podium place went to Antel Motorsport’s Brett Parris. Meanwhile in the Privateer Cup, Oxford racer Steven Durrant (round six) and Andrew Jarman took a win apiece with Jarman now extending his lead to 18-points.
Zamparelli scores double...
Following Saturday’s qualifying session, British/Italian racer Zamparelli lined the start grid for round seven as pole-sitter with Mulholland alongside him and Clark in unfamiliar territory on row two.
As the lights went out for the start of the 14-lap race, both front-row drivers made good starts with Zamparelli just holding on to the lead as the field all went safely through Redgate. Parris also made a good start which saw him move into second after squeezing passed Mulholland on the opening lap, as did Clark dropping the Northern Ireland driver to fourth.
In the midfield, Antel Motorsport’s Archie Hamilton – grandson of Le Mans star Duncan – was running well in fifth followed by Welch Motorsport’s Kourosh Khani and Apotex Scorpio Motorsport’s Joe Crook.
By the early stages, Zamparelli was already showing his confidence out in front while behind Parris was working hard to keep Clark in his mirrors which in turn was allowing Mulholland to catch. Khani had also been able to gain a place to move into the top five.
French racer Pierre Renom – competing in his first race meeting this year – had also been running well as the leading privateer driver until a spin at Goddards ended his race and allowed Jarman to take his place.
Lap seven saw the Safety Car deployed to retrieve the car of Crook who had earlier spun at Starkeys allowing the field to bunch up and undoing Zamparelli’s healthy lead.
Racing resumed three laps later with the new race distance increased to 17 laps. Despite having never led a race until this weekend, Zamparelli timed the restart to perfection to lead from Parris once more followed by Clark and Mulholland with the battle for second, third and fourth places producing a three-car train. Out in front, the single-seater racer was certainly not phased and a few laps later he set the fastest lap of the race with a time of 1min 09.229s (101.78mph average).
Behind him, Clark tried to make a move on Parris for second going into the chicane but outbraked himself allowing the waiting Mulholland to slip by into third. Clark tried to retake the place as the two went into Redgate but with Mulholland holding the racing line the Royston racer was forced to yield.
In the midfield, Bamboo Engineering’s Don De Graaff had also been able to make up a place from Hamilton to move into sixth with Hillspeed’s Ahmad Al Harthy (OMA) in eighth and team-mate James Theodore running strong in ninth.
With the chequered flag in sight, Zamparelli, who had developed more than a five second lead, slowed briefly to wave to his team before taking a deserved lights-to-flag victory. Parris, relieved not to have Clark in his mirrors, crossed the line in second to equal his best finish this year with Mulholland just keeping Clark at bay to take third. Khani rounded off the top five and his best result of 2009 while Jarman enjoyed a relatively straight forward race to take the privateer win.
Clark’s unbeaten run ends...
Sunday’s earlier round six saw the first three drivers line up in identical positions to round seven. As the lights went out, Zamparelli made a good start as did De Graaff from row three on the grid.
As the field emerged from Redgate, Zamparelli led followed by Clark,(left) who had got ahead of Mulholland, and De Graaff in fourth. By the end of the first lap though, De Graaff had judged to have jumped the start by the Clerk of the Course, handing him a drive-through penalty as a result.
After the opening few laps, Zamparelli was looking strong as race leader and already pulling away from Clark. In the midfield, Al Harthy, Parris and Crook were all running well while behind them a great battle was developing between Khani and Theodore for eighth and ninth places.
Out in front though Zamparelli was continuing to press developing almost a three second lead over Clark with Mulholland in third and De Graaff in fourth although the 18-year-old was still yet to serve his drive-through penalty. In the battle for the privateer cup, 19-year-old Durrant was leading from Jarman followed by Renom.
Lap nine saw contact at the Esses between Hillspeed’s Alex Jeffrey and Falcon Motorsport’s and Championship newcomer Jack Piper. With their cars in a dangerous position, the Clerk of the Course was forced to deploy the Safety Car the following lap.
This allowed the field, in particular the pursuing car of Clark, to close up before racing resumed on lap 12 with the original 14-lap distance extended by two laps. Once again Zamparelli made a good start to lead although with a much smaller cushion over Clark who had earlier set the fastest lap of the race and earning him two extra championship points. Mulholland lay in third followed by Al Harthy in fourth after De Graaff had served his drive-through penalty dropping the returning driver down the order.
As the race entered the final few stages, Khani and Theodore were still battling for position with the Telford driver eventually getting the better of Khani. Fifth-place Parris was also not content with his place and after a good run out of the chicane on lap 15, the 20-year-old was able to get passed Al Harthy at Redgate on the final lap.
There was little Clark could do though to catch Zamparelli on his final lap leaving the rookie racer to secure his first win of the season and ends Clark’s unbeaten run of five straight wins. Mulholland finished third with Parris in fourth and Al Harthy rounding off the top five. Durrant held on to take the privateer honours.
Commenting after his double victory Zamparelli said: “I’m delighted with the two wins and it’s given me a massive confidence boost going into the next rounds at Brands. The car has been running well all weekend and credit has to go to the team and engineers. Kieren has been running strong too all season but this weekend we’ve managed to get the better of him and gain back some points.”
Commenting on his weekend, Championship leader Clark said: “I’d said earlier in the season that the rest of the field was getting quicker and this weekend certainly showed that. I’m still pleased to come away with more points though as it’s not just about winning.”
Commenting on his two third places Mulholland said: “I’m a bit disappointed Clark was able to get the jump on me in round six but it was a good race and I’m pleased to get on the podium. In round seven it looked like I’d just missed out on another podium until Clark left a gap when he tried to take Brett [Parris] which allowed me through and complete a good weekend for us.”
Second place in round seven Parris added: “Kieren has shown great pace all season so it wasn’t easy keeping him behind me throughout most of round seven. When Josh [Mulholland] was able to get passed him it was a welcome relief for me and gave me breathing space to concentrate on bringing the car home.”
pics Jakob Ebrey Photography
FIVE WINS FROM FIVE RACES FOR PEERLESS CLARK AT CROFT
Runaway Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship leader Kieren Clark (Royston) continued his stunning momentum at Croft Circuit in North Yorkshire over the weekend, 11th/12th July, with two flawless race victories during rounds four and five of the 2009 campaign.
Increasing his advantage in the driver standings to a huge 50 points over nearest challenger Hillspeed’s Ahmad Al Harthy (Derby), 20-year-old Clark sealed a thoroughly perfect weekend with a brace of pole positions, the fastest lap in each encounter and, of course, his pair of wins. Continuing his 100 per cent record, the Apotex Scorpio Motorsport racer has also taken maximum points from the first three meetings.
“All five wins, all five fastest laps, all five poles – I’m happy with that!” said Clark after his dominant weekend’s work. “I didn’t come away with the lap record which is a bit of a shame but the championship is the important thing. The guys at Scorpio have done a brilliant job once again.”
During qualifying on Saturday, 11th July, Clark started the weekend the way he intended to go on with an unbeatable performance. Lapping with a best time of 1m 20.690 seconds (94.80mph) in sunny conditions to secure his fourth pole position on the trot for round four, the Apotex Scorpio racer did it again in the round five session with a superb lap of 1m 20.796 seconds (94.68mph).
Before the opening 14-lap encounter had even begun on Sunday, 12th July, two of the 18 starters had already fallen out of contention with Tempus Sport’s Callum Holland (Quainton)ruled out on the sighting lap and Apex Engineering’s Jordi Weckx (Southampton) retiring on the formation lap with a fuel-pump issue.
With the very real threat of rain in the air as the drivers assumed grid positions, and the track slippery in places due to earlier showers, Clark made a good getaway to lead Al Harthy into Clervaux with Alpine Motorsport’s Josh Mulholland (Randalstown) holding third off the line ahead of Antel Motorsport’s Brett Parris (Southampton), the latter squeezing by Apotex Scorpio Motorsport’s Joe Crook (Hailsham) at the first corner.
Further behind, sixth and seventh place starters Hillspeed’s James Theodore (Telford) and Tempus Sport’s Sasha Radola – the Croatian making his Protyre Formula Renault BARC debut this weekend, having raced up to now in the sister Michelin Formula Renault UK Championship – made contact off the grid which pitched Theodore into a huge spin on the infield and also resulted in Radola slipping back to eighth.
Luckily incurring no damage to his Hillspeed-entered car, Theodore managed to rejoin but by the start of lap two he was some 20 seconds behind the leaders. Back at the front, Clark set about another faultless drive to secure his fourth win on the bounce. He also added two bonus points for the fastest lap of the race, a time of 1m 21.455 seconds (93.91mph).
Al Harthy ran largely unchallenged in second place for the duration as well, the Omani racer securing a career best finish which helped him move into a clear second in the standings. Furthermore, he was one of just three drivers to lap under the 1m 22 second barrier.
The battle for the remainder of the top six provided good entertainment throughout. At the end of lap one, Parris moved into third past Mulholland’s car with Crook fifth and Dino Zamparelli (Bristol) sixth at the wheel of his Reon Motorsport entry. Seventh position was held by Tempus’ Don De Graaff (Weybridge) ahead of team-mate Radola.
Into the Sunny In and Sunny Out sequence of right-hand corners on lap two, Zamparelli was right on the tail of Crook and at the complex he managed to get ahead into fifth place before De Graaff then made the most of the battle ahead of him and passed both cars with an impressive piece of driving to emerge inside the top five.
By lap seven, Mulholland had closed on third placed Parris and the Northern Irishman mounted a successful challenge for the final podium place at the hairpin on the following tour when Parris ran wide. De Graaff, continuing to enjoy a terrific run, followed Mulholland through to grab fourth place and from that point on the top five remained very close but unchanged nonetheless.
Sixth position went the way of Crook who, on lap eight, grabbed the place from Zamparelli at the exit of Tower Bend when the latter had been sizing up a move of his own on Parris. Unfortunately for Zamparelli, ever-worsening understeer led to a spin on lap 11 which forced his retirement. Radola ended the race in seventh ahead of Team Avago’s David Sutton (Swinton) in a career best eighth place.
Theodore, meanwhile, produced a superb recovery from his lap one incident to bag an excellent ninth place and in doing so he also set the second fastest lap of the race. Just behind, Steven Durrant (Oxford) rounded out the top 10 to take a clear win in the Privateer Cup class.
Round five was a less action-packed affair but the result at the front was the same with Clark’s fifth dominant victory from as many race starts. This time, however, he was joined on the podium by the flying Zamparelli, who equalled his career best finish in single-seaters with second place, and series newcomer Radola, who claimed his maiden Formula Renault podium with a good drive to third.
While Clark raced into the distance to a 10 second winning margin – and more bonus points for a fastest lap of 1m 21.462 seconds (93.91mph) – behind it was Zamparelli who provided the lion’s share of the overtaking as he climbed from sixth on the grid. At the start, the Reon driver was up to fourth at Clervaux after passing both Al Harthy and Theodore around the outside.
Pressuring third placed Radola almost instantly, Zamparelli then grabbed the position at Sunny on lap three before slicing past Mulholland for second at Clervaux on the sixth tour. Radola then moved back into the top three at the expense of Mulholland at the end of the very same lap at the hairpin.
The top four ran unchanged to the chequered flag while just 0.467 seconds behind Mulholland was Al Harthy in fifth who headed home a train of four very evenly matched performers in the shape of Theodore, Parris, Crook and De Graaff. Kourosh Khani (London), who was a round four retirement, completed the top 10 for Welch Motorsport while Andrew Jarman (Northampton) took Privateer honours in 14th place overall.
Commenting on his best ever Formula Renault BARC finish from round four, Al Harthy said: “It felt really good, the car was great. I controlled my race, I managed to push really, really hard in the opening laps as I knew that was key so I could relax a little more later on. Kieren Clark is really on another level at the moment so there was no point risking anything.”
Podium debutant Radola added: “It’s my first weekend in Formula Renault BARC so to be on the podium in the second race, I am very happy!”
CLARK CONTINUES PERFECT START TO PROTYRE BARC SERIES
Apotex Scorpio Motorsport’s Kieren Clark produced a thoroughly faultless performance at Snetterton in Norfolk over the weekend, 27th/28th June, to seal his second and third victories of the 2009 Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship.
Making it a hat-trick of wins from the opening three races of the year, the 20-year-old kept up his sheer domination of the category by also recording a brace of pole position starts and setting the fastest lap in each encounter. Added to that, Clark bagged a new lap record with a time of 1m 08.463 seconds (102.64mph average) and now heads the championship by a huge 30-point margin.
In qualifying at the 1.95-mile track on Saturday, 27th June, Clark got his weekend off to a superb start with a round two pole position time of 1m 07.750 seconds (103.72mph average), more than three 10ths of a second faster than nearest rival Don De Graaff – the Tempus Sport racer producing by far his best ever effort just 0.070 seconds quicker than Hillspeed’s Ahmad Al Harthy.
Clark was pushed harder in the round three session by Antel Motorsport’s Brett Parris, the latter just 0.097 seconds slower. In the Privateer Cup qualifying battle, Steven Durrant (Oxford) outpaced Andrew Jarman in the round two period but the outcome was reversed in round three qualifying.
Snetterton basked under incredibly hot sunshine on raceday, Sunday, 28th June, and at the beginning of round two Clark just managed to hold off a fast-starting De Graaff on the run to Riches Corner with Al Harthy third ahead of Reon Motorsport’s Dino Zamparelli. Into the Esses though, Al Harthy produced a great pass on De Graaff to wrest away second position.
Further down the order at Sear, Privateer runner Alex Craven and Hillspeed’s Ellis Harkins made contact resulting in the Safety Car being deployed for three laps.
On lap five, racing resumed with Clark making no mistakes at the front and he was able to gradually pull away from his pursuers as they battled over the remaining steps on the podium. With the outing extended to 17 laps due to the Safety Car intervention, Clark took the chequered flag almost nine seconds clear to firmly stamp his authority on the title race.
Al Harthy, suffering all weekend from illness, had to fight hard to keep third-placed De Graaff at bay and he almost managed it but on the final tour, the Tempus youngster shot up the inside into the Esses after getting an ideal run out of Sear. Al Harthy then came under attack from Parris and as they crossed the finishing line side-by-side, just 0.001 seconds separated the pair in Al Harthy’s favour.
Alpine Motorsport’s Josh Mulholland produced a fantastic effort to climb from 10th on the grid into fifth position at the finish, his best result of the season – but even better was to come.
The best battle of the race was undoubtedly the titanic tussle over sixth position which was eventually won by Welch Motorsport’s Kenny Andrews, just six 10ths of a second ahead of Tempus’ Callum Holland who, in turn, shaded Hillspeed’s James Theodore by a mere 0.294 seconds. Durrant, in ninth place overall, took a comfortable Privateer Cup class win with Jordi Weckx in 10th spot.
Zamparelli’s podium challenge was ended on lap 14 when a suspension failure forced him to drop down the order dramatically. The first-year single-seater racer did continue circulating though and managed to grab 15th place, the points for which could be crucial later in the season.
Looking back on round two, race winner Clark said: “By no means was it easy. I got a little bit bogged down at the start and Don [De Graaff] was straight on me so I had to defend. The guys behind then started to battle each other and that allowed me to get away. The car was absolutely perfect, Apotex Scorpio did an amazing job as usual.”
Debut podium finisher De Graaff commented: “It was close the whole way but I couldn’t quite get near enough to Ahmad [Al Harthy] to get the move done. On the last lap I got a good run off Sear, went to the inside into the Esses and Ahmad just gave me enough room so credit to him for that.”
Ahead of round three, light rain did begin to fall but the clouds thankfully moved away a couple of laps into the race. Clark again ran unchallenged to the chequered flag and by posting the fastest lap in both outings, he left Snetterton with a maximum 102-point total in the championship.
During the early stages, Parris held second ahead of Al Harthy with Mulholland fourth and Andrews and Zamparelli commencing with a battle royal over fifth position. On lap five though, the race fell under Safety Car conditions after a five-car midfield tangle at the Esses resulted in a blocked track.
Lead Privateer Cup contenders Durrant and Jarman were both taken out of action in the incident along with Weckx, Welch Motorsport’s Kourosh Khani and Formula Renault BARC newcomer Alexander Jeffrey. The Scottish karting graduate did have better fortune in the first race though with a solid 12th place.
The re-start came on lap nine and although Parris closed on the tail of Clark as they headed for Riches, the leader dealt with the attention well and then cruised to a winning margin of four seconds. Parris took a welcome second place while, behind, the ever-improving Mulholland produced a terrific pass on Al Harthy at the Bomb Hole on the last lap to grab his maiden podium.
Lap after lap, Andrews and Zamparelli provided tremendous entertainment and in the end it was the Reon driver who came out on top to take fifth place after getting past Andrews on lap 14, just before the latter was unfortunately forced to retire. Sixth place was contested between Theodore, De Graaff and Holland with the former emerging at the head of the scrap.
Reflecting on the performance which brought him a maiden podium, Mulholland said: “I forced Ahmad into a bit of an error under braking and he went a bit wide so I managed to get alongside at the Bomb Hole and then get past. It’s only my first season but I’m improving every time out and to get my first podium is great. We’re getting closer and closer to where we want to be.”
Pics Paul Williams
CLARK WINS PROTYRE SERIES OPENER AT OULTON PARK
Apotex Scorpio Motorsport’s Kieren Clark took the honours in the opening round of the 2009 Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship at Cheshire’s Oulton Park Island circuit on Saturday, 23rd May. The 20-year-old former Formula Renault UK driver claimed a lights-to-flag victory together with the fastest lap to earn maximum Championship points.
Reon Motorsport’s Dino Zamparelli, who joins the single-seater series after winning the Ginetta Junior Championship last year, secured second place with Ahmad Al Harthy taking third for Hillspeed. Steven Durrant crossed the line as the Privateer Cup winner but was subsequently excluded from the race due to a technical non-compliance promoting Andrew Jarman as the leading privateer.
Clark leads from the front...
Dry but cloudy conditions greeted drivers as they lined the grid for round one and the start of the 2009 season. Following the day’s earlier qualifying session, Clark headed the field as pole-sitter with Zamparelli alongside him on the front row.
As the lights went out for the start of the 15 lap race, Clark made a superb start to lead the field into Old Hall followed by Zamparelli. A good start by Clark’s team-mate Joe Crook saw him move from sixth on the grid to third by the end of the first lap with Antel Motorsport’s Brett Parris in fourth and Al Harthy, who had started on row two, dropping down to fifth.
By the first few laps, Clark had already developed a lead over Italian born Zamparelli while behind the front runners Crook was working hard to defend the challenges of Parris allowing Al Harthy to catch.
Shortly after, as Crook and Parris jostled for position, Al Harthy was able to slip by both drivers to take third with Parris also getting ahead of the 21-year-old to leave him fifth.
In the midfield, contact at Cascades between Hillspeed’s James Theodore and Tempus Motorsport’s Callum Holland saw both cars spin with Theodore unable to continue and Holland rejoining well down the order.
As the leading pair pulled away, the battle behind for fifth and sixth places intensified with Welch Motorsport’s Kenny Andrews eventually getting the better of Crook to take the place. Meanwhile, Alpine Motorsport’s Josh Mulholland, who had slipped down the order, was now up to sixth place after working his way through the field. Tempus Motorsport’s Don De Graaff was also running well despite starting 16th on the grid.
Out in front, Clark continued to push, setting the fastest lap of the race on lap 10 with a time of 1min 23.088s (96.44mph average), earning him two extra Championship points. The same lap also saw Crook spin at Knickerbrook dropping him down to 11th place and moving Mulholland into sixth behind Andrews in fifth.
As the race entered the final stages, Clark had now developed a sizeable cushion over Zamparelli with the rest of the field also spread out. There was still a great battle taking place thought between Andrews and Mulholland with each driver vying to be inside the top five.
The chequered flag belonged to Clark who crossed the line with a 5.458s lead, leaving Zamparelli to take second with Al Harthy in third and Parris in fourth. Andrews just did enough to hang on to fifth ahead of Mulholland while De Graaff crossed the line in seventh after making up an impressive nine places.
Commenting after his win, a delighted Clark said: “I got a fantastic start off the line although the first few laps were really tough with Dino [Zamparelli] pushing hard. I just concentrated on being consistent and managed to pull away and build a comfortable lead. Oulton Park is one of my favourite tracks and it’s great to come away with a win.”
Second place Zamparelli, said: “I got away well from the line but Kieren [Clark] was just too quick and I couldn’t catch him. I’m pleased with the result though and really enjoyed the race.”
Third place Al Harthy added: “I think I could have been challenging for the lead if it hadn’t have been for the traffic on the first lap which slowed me down. It’s great to be on the podium and I’m looking forward to the next rounds at Snetterton.”
pics Richard Pascal 11/56 Motorsport