MANOR RETURNS TO FORM DURING OFFICIAL CROFT TEST New Ollerton-based Formula Renault UK team Manor Competition enjoyed two very productive days of official testing at Croft Circuit in North Yorkshire this week, the team topping the times during...
MANOR RETURNS TO FORM DURING OFFICIAL CROFT TEST
New Ollerton-based Formula Renault UK team Manor Competition enjoyed two very productive days of official testing at Croft Circuit in North Yorkshire this week, the team topping the times during session two on Thursday, 17th May, courtesy of young hotshoe Alexander Sims.
The 19-year-old from Peterborough returned to the sort of form he displayed when achieving his first ever podium finish in single-seaters during the 2006 Winter Championship at Croft last November, lapping with a time of 1m 17.975 seconds (98.11mph) during the second session yesterday to head the times.
Second fastest during Thursday's first session, seventh fastest in session three and then fifth quickest in the last period of testing underlined Sims' progress which was all the more impressive considering his involvement in the opening test on Wednesday was curtailed following a spectacular, and potentially nasty, accident at Clervaux Corner.
Evenly matched at the time with team-mate Richard Singleton in tricky wet conditions, Sims unluckily caught a large puddle under braking and aquaplaned off the circuit and into the barriers, coming to rest lodged in the catch-fencing in mid-air. Thankfully he was uninjured and the team worked hard into the night to repair the car in time for day two.
Welshman Singleton was consistently in and around the top 10 throughout both days of the test, his personal best lap of 1m 18.157 seconds (97.88mph) coming during the fourth session on Thursday. The reigning Formula Renault BARC Champion also achieved the seventh fastest time in the wet on Wednesday afternoon.
Countryman Alex Morgan, meanwhile, displayed a marked improvement on recent outings to post the ninth quickest time in session three yesterday. His best lap of 1m 18.316 seconds (97.69mph) was just a 10th of a second shy of Sims and only seven 10ths of a second adrift of the top of the times.
Kris Loane produced a highly consistent performance over the course of both days, the Northern Irishman posting the 13th quickest time in no less than five of the six sessions with a personal best of 1m 18.361 seconds (97.63mph).
"It's been a very productive test for us", commented team boss Tony Shaw, "All four drivers have gone well throughout both days and we're happy with the progress we've made as a team.
"Alexander was very unlucky to be caught out in the wet on Wednesday afternoon and we were fortunate enough to have just bodywork and suspension damage to the car really with nothing worse. We're very happy with his performance and the pace he's shown this last couple of days is a true indicator of where he should be."
Shaw added: "Alexander, Richard, Alex and Kris all got fouled up in traffic when it mattered on their fast laps but that's the same situation for everyone. Alex showed big improvements and did a superb job and both Richard and Kris were very consistent. I'm pleased with the work we've done at Croft and we have a renewed confidence now ahead of the next two rounds of the championship."
Rounds seven and eight of the 2007 Formula Renault UK Championship will take place at Croft a fortnight from now, 2nd/3rd June.