Eleventh hour deals for returning Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship racer Kieran Vernon (West Chiltington, West Sussex) and newcomer Ovie Iroro (Forgandenny, Scotland) mean an incredible 29 drivers will contest rounds four and five of the season at Rockingham this weekend, 19th/20th May.

Kieran Vernon

Vernon’s deal with Hillspeed brings the 22-year-old back to single-seater competition for the first time since the Protyre Formula Renault BARC event at Croft last July, the former race winner having switched to the Porsche Carrera Cup GB Championship for the second half of 2011.

Although having missed all of pre-season testing, Vernon was immediately on the pace when he had his first test in an FR 2.0 for almost a year with Hillspeed at Silverstone two weeks ago. His arrival back in the championship this weekend will certainly add more spice to what is shaping up to be a sensational season.

Nigerian youngster Iroro, meanwhile, is a complete motorsport novice and will make his car racing debut in the ultra-competitive Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship with Steven Durrant’s RPD Motorsport squad.

Based in Perthshire, Scotland, where he studies at Strathallum School, the 18-year-old will make a piece of category history this weekend as the first Nigerian to compete in the series. His addition to the grid also brings the number of nationalities racing in the championship this year to nine with competitors from Britain, Mexico, America, Russia, Lebanon, Brazil, Denmark and China.

“It’s absolutely fantastic news we have 29 on the grid for this weekend’s races at Rockingham”, said championship promoter Simon North, “We started the year very strongly with 25 cars at Snetterton last month, to have added another four to the entry for the second event of the year is remarkable.

“At the beginning of the year our aim was to try and achieve a 20-car grid, to have added almost half that number again is a strong reflection on the value of the championship and the great work done by our teams. We’re delighted to see RPD back on the grid and so too Kieran with Hillspeed.”

Rockingham will host qualifying for the fourth and fifth rounds of the Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship season on Saturday, 19th May, at 09.30 and 12.10 respectively. On Sunday, 20th May, the opening race will begin at 10.55 with the second encounter following at 15.35.

Along with headline sponsor Protyre, Formula Renault BARC is additionally supported by Michelin, The Lubricant Consultancy, Petronas Syntium and NGK Spark Plugs.

2012 Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship Driver Standings (after Rd3):

1st Josh Webster, 88pts; 2nd Seb Morris, 74pts; 3rd Scott Malvern, 70pts; 4th David Wagner, 68pts;

5th Macaulay Walsh, 63pts; 6th Jake Dalton, 47pts