Paul Ricard: Alexander Sims race report

SIMS STARTS 2010 IN WINNING WAYS WITH VICTORY AT PAUL RICARD Alexander Sims got his 2010 Formula 3 Euroseries title campaign off to a winning start at Paul Ricard in the south of France over the weekend by claiming a dominant race victory during...

SIMS STARTS 2010 IN WINNING WAYS WITH VICTORY AT PAUL RICARD

Alexander Sims got his 2010 Formula 3 Euroseries title campaign off to a winning start at Paul Ricard in the south of France over the weekend by claiming a dominant race victory during the second round of the season this morning, Sunday, 11th April.

Starting sixth on the grid, the 22-year-old scythed his way through to the lead by mid-distance and then never looked back as he built a substantial winning margin of 7.5 seconds. In addition, he posted a fastest lap of 1m54.360 seconds (183.903km/h), just 0.049 seconds outside the best of the race, on his way to the ART Grand Prix team's first win of the year.

During round one on Saturday, 10th April, the Wansford-based sensation carved his way into the top three after a problem with gearing in qualifying led to an uncharacteristic sixth fastest time and left Alexander with plenty of work to do. Nonetheless, he displayed outstanding pace and tremendous skill to come through to third place -- two podiums from two starts a fantastic way to begin 2010.

"I'm very pleased to have been able to turn things around so well after the problems of qualifying, to take two podiums from the weekend and a win as well is a great start to the year", said Alexander, "In today's race, it was crucial to make decent progress in the first few laps. I closed down (Roberto) Merhi reasonably easily and after passing him for the lead I managed to pull a good gap.

"If you look at Saturday's outcome in terms of the pure result, I'm pleased, but I wasn't able to make the progress I wanted off the grid as there were three or four cars blocking across the track ahead so it took longer to get past people. The podium was a nice result though. The Volkswagen-engined cars definitely had the advantage this weekend so, all in all, I'm happy with our results."

Qualifying on Friday, 9th April, at the 5.8-kilometre track resulted in a best lap of 1m53.453 seconds (185.374km/h) for the British Racing Drivers' Club (BRDC) Superstar and Team UK supported driver after the error with gearing cost him vital time.

Unfortunately, a mistake with two fourth gears being fitted in the box, after a late change to the ratios just prior to the session, put Alexander on the back foot and meant he would start round one from a lower than expected -- but clearly impressive in view of the circumstances -- sixth place.

Getting away well, he steered his Mercedes-powered Dallara F308 through to podium contention and with three laps remaining Alexander took third place from Spanish driver Daniel Juncadella before pulling five seconds clear of his rival to cap off an impressive drive.

For round two, the 2008 McLaren Autosport BRDC Award winner lined up in sixth position for the start by virtue of the 'reverse grid' format employed by F3 Euroseries. This sees the top eight finishers from race one on any given race weekend 'flipped' for the race two starting order, putting the winner eighth on the grid, seventh place second on the grid, and so on.

Up to fourth on lap one after a great start, Alexander moved into third position on lap two past fellow Brit Adrian Quaife-Hobbs and set about chasing down second placed Antonio Felix da Costa. On the fourth tour, Alexander made his move to take second and within just a couple more laps he was right on the tail of race leader Roberto Merhi.

Taking the lead from the Spaniard on lap seven, the Cambridgeshire racer immediately pulled away and scorched to a memorable 7.5 second victory -- his second career win in Formula 3. The result also meant Alexander was the highest placed Mercedes-powered driver in both Le Castellet races to get the 2010 season off to an excellent start.

Although running in support of the Le Mans Series this weekend, F3 Euroseries will return to its regular place on the DTM touring car championship package for the next event which takes place a fortnight from now on 24th/25th April at Hockenheim in Germany.

Alexander added: "Hockenheim should be a strong weekend for us, I'm confident in my own ability there and ART has done a very good job there in the past so I'll be aiming for the top step of the podium again."

Television highlights of the 2010 F3 Euroseries are expected to be screened throughout the year in the UK on cable and digital satellite subscription channel ESPN. Additional coverage will be featured on motorsport magazine shows Raceworld, Motorsport Mundial and Max Power -- please check listings for full details.

-source: alexander sims

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About this article
Series F3 Europe
Drivers Adrian Quaife-Hobbs , Daniel Juncadella , Roberto Merhi , Alexander Sims , Antonio Felix da Costa
Teams ART Grand Prix