Kieran Vernon will make a surprise return to the Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship for the second event of the season at Rockingham this weekend, 19th/20th May, after agreeing a late deal to join 2010 champion team Hillspeed.The 22-year-old, from West Chiltington, tested with Richard Ollerenshaw’s squad at Silverstone the week before last and was immediately on the pace, a hugely impressive performance from a driver who last piloted an FR 2.0 car in July 2011.After winning the Porsche Carrera Cup GB Scholarship at the end of 2010, Vernon’s move into the sportscar category was delayed due to budget limitations so he instead turned his attention to racing in Protyre Formula Renault BARC last year.Taking a podium on his debut weekend and then claiming victory in only his third race in the series, he chalked-up another podium in round five before the opportunity to make his Porsche debut came in June 2011 in the Nationwide Motorbase car vacated by double category champion Tim Harvey.Focusing on Porsche exclusively from August onward, Vernon became a consistent top 10 runner and achieved a best result of fifth in round 16 at Brands Hatch. However, the West Sussex racer was again held-back by financial constraints at the beginning of 2012 and has been on the sidelines since. “It’s almost a year since I was last in a BARC car but it all went well [in the test] and we were one of the quickest out there”, said Vernon, “Hillspeed were great and the aim is to get them back at the front. I'm hoping we can be in contention for the podium but having got used to the Porsche, which is quite different to drive, it might take me a weekend to properly get used to the Renault again."Vernon’s eleventh hour deal with Hillspeed means the team will return to being a three-car entry for the first time in 2012, the Hathersage squad also running Danish youngster Jacob Nortoft and British racer Marcus Allen.“We’re absolutely delighted to have agreed a deal with Kieran, we’ve held him in very high regard for a long time”, commented Ollerenshaw, “It’s long been apparent he’s an exceptionally talented driver and he’ll add another facet to what’s turning into a fascinating championship this year. “During the test run he had with us at Silverstone recently, Kieran was right among the front-runners from the off and was one of the true pace-setters – even though he’d not been in a Formula Renault for 11 months. We’re confident he’s going to be a real contender at Rockingham.”Qualifying for rounds four and five of the 2012 Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship will take place at 09.30 and 12.10 on Saturday, 19th May, with both races set to follow on Sunday, 20th May, at 10.55 and 15.35 respectively.