UK: First registrations accepted for 2009

FIRST REGISTRATIONS ACCEPTED FOR RENAULT SPORT UK CHAMPIONSHIPS Build-up to Renault Sport UK's 2009 motor racing season is officially underway after 20 registrations were received for its championships at the Autosport International show on ...

FIRST REGISTRATIONS ACCEPTED FOR RENAULT SPORT UK CHAMPIONSHIPS

Build-up to Renault Sport UK's 2009 motor racing season is officially underway after 20 registrations were received for its championships at the Autosport International show on Thursday, 8th January. The annual event at the NEC has become the traditional opening day for championship registration with the Formula Renault UK with Michelin Championship, ELF Renault Clio Cup and Formula Renault BARC Championship all receiving early entries.

Formula Renault UK enters its 20th season on the back of seeing Lewis Hamilton join Kimi Raeikkoenen as former champions who have gone on to become Formula One World Champion and is the only single-seater series on the British Touring Car Championships support package. Likewise, ELF Renault Clio Cup is the only saloon-car championship on the BTCC bill, while Formula Renault BARC is firmly established as the ideal entry level single-seater category.

Graduate Cup champion Dean Stoneman (Southampton) headlines the list of Formula Renault UK entries with the Alpine Motorsport team. The 18-year-old is likely to start as one of the title favourites after scoring three wins in a superb debut season. Hillspeed has two entries confirmed for its former Formula Renault BARC Championship drivers Michael Lyons (Felsted) and British-born Bahraini Menasheh Idafar (London, SW1). They are joined by privateer Lee Dwyer (Huddersfield) in his SSS Motorsport entered car.

Championship organisers have held meetings with prospective Formula Renault UK teams ahead of the new season, attended by Alpine Motorsport, Apotex Scorpio Motorsport, CR Scuderia Formula Renault, Eurotek Motorsport, Falcon Motorsport, Fortec Motorsport, Hillspeed, Hi Tech Racing, Manor Competition, Mark Burdett Motorsport, SSS Motorsport, Tempus Sport and privateer drivers Tom Armour and Ryan Singleton. This shows the formula has the potential for a strong field despite the economic downturn.

ELF Renault Clio Cup has two confirmed entries from perennial front-runner Carl Bradley (Morecambe) and series returnee Ant Scragg (Tunbridge Wells). Both will race for Coastal Racing, which plans to expand its squad before the start of the season. Following a similar meeting with Clio Cup organisers, prospective teams include Amery Motorsport, APO Sport, JHR Developments, Mardi Gras Motorsport, Robertshaw Racing, Stancombe Vehicle Engineering, Team Pyro, Team RSA, Team Wood Racing, Total Control Racing, Woodard Racing, plus several privateer entries.

Zamparelli makes single-seater switch

As in 2008, Formula Renault BARC attracted the most attention on the opening day of registration. The low-cost single-seater series already has 16 confirmed entries, led by three from Hillspeed. Formula Renault BARC Winter Cup champion James Theodore (Telford), third-year Omani racer Ahmad Al Harthy (Hathersage) and Irish driver Ellis Harkins (Reading) make up a three-pronged squad.

Falcon Motorsport has a two-car team of Josh Mulholland (Randals Town) and Italian Christian Mancinelli, while Welch Motorsport retain Iranian Kourosh Khani (Ealing, London) who is joined by Kenny Andrews (Spalding). Teams that entered one car on opening day include Reon Motorsport with Ginetta Junior champion Dino Zamparelli (Clifton), Apotex Scorpio Motorsport, who took Ollie Hancock to the 2008 FR2000 Class title, with Joe Crook (Hailsham), Apex Engineering with Belgian Jordi Weckx (Southampton), Antel Motorsport with Brett Parris (Southampton) and Blackpool & The Fylde College with Craig Harris (Preston).

In the new-for-2009 Privateer Cup, which has a prize of 500 GBP for the top privateer entrant, Alex Craven (London, SW7), 2008 Club Class vice-champion Steven Durrant (Rayleigh), Roberto Tirone (West Chiltington) and Andrew Jarman (Northampton) are the early contenders.

Commenting on the opening day of registrations, Championship Manager Simon North said: "It's great to have all three championships up and running ahead of the new season, which is particularly special for Formula Renault UK as it celebrates its 20th anniversary. Despite the difficult economic climate, all of the teams we have been in dialogue with have indicated a strong desire to be part of the championships this season."

-credit: frenault uk

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Series Formula Renault
Drivers Michael Lyons , Kenny Andrews , Ollie Hancock , Dean Stoneman , Menasheh Idafar , Dino Zamparelli , Kourosh Khani , Ahmad Al Harthy , Andrew Jarman , Alex Craven