SECOND PODIUM OF SEASON FOR SIMS AT BRANDS HATCH Alexander Sims made his second visit to the Formula Renault UK podium this season during round 15 at Brands Hatch Indy Circuit this afternoon, the Manor Competition racer taking a highly...
SECOND PODIUM OF SEASON FOR SIMS AT BRANDS HATCH
Alexander Sims made his second visit to the Formula Renault UK podium this season during round 15 at Brands Hatch Indy Circuit this afternoon, the Manor Competition racer taking a highly competitive second place result after a controlled and mature drive.
The Peterborough 19-year-old, in his first full year of single-seater action, produced an excellent performance in qualifying on Saturday to secure a front-row start for the first of today's two 24-lap races, his quickest time of 47.061 seconds (91.69mph) placing him second on the grid less than eight 100ths of a second shy of his maiden pole position.
Supported by Spalding-based J.O Sims, Ocean Spray and American sponsors Northern Fruit Company and Stemilt Growers, Alexander looked set for a strong result in round 15 to help consolidate his eighth position in the overall driver standings and so it proved.
Although not making as a good a getaway as pole-sitter and series leader Duncan Tappy on a track which was wet following earlier rain, Alexander held on to second place without problem and as the race got into its stride the two front-runners began to pull away rapidly from the rest of the pack.
Keeping Tappy honest throughout, Alexander took the chequered flag on lap 24 in a terrific second place over eight seconds clear of third-placed Adriano Buzaid to finish the race as the top Graduate Cup runner. In addition, his fastest race lap was the best of any rookie driver and just eight 100ths of a second outside the best time of all.
"I'm really pleased with the weekend as a whole, our pace has been very good again and we've shown we're a force in the championship", commented Alexander, "Being on the podium again is exactly where we want to be and I'm confident we can carry this level of performance through to the end of the season.
"At the start of the race I got loads of wheel-spin which was a shame, it allowed (Duncan) Tappy to build a big gap and when I saw how far behind Buzaid was I knew I could push on comfortably in second place. The car felt really good, I want to say big thanks to the team again, they've done a superb job."
Unfortunately for the Manor ace, this afternoon's 16th round wasn't as fruitful as he was forced to retire on lap 23 of 27 when an out-of-shape moment at Surtees Corner led to a collision with the tyre barriers on the outside of the entry to Clearways. Running in seventh position at the time, Alexander thankfully stepped from his car unscathed.
"We're not sure if anything broke on the car or if it is was just marginal contact with the kerbs on the right side of the track but the car snapped away from me very quickly", said Alexander, "There was nothing I could do and it was a real shame to lose the points but it's still been a good weekend all in all."