WELCOME RETURN TO THE FRONT FOR SIMS DURING CROFT TEST Formula Renault UK star Alexander Sims made a very welcome return to the top of the timesheets during official testing at Croft Circuit today, the Manor Competition driver overcoming a ...
WELCOME RETURN TO THE FRONT FOR SIMS DURING CROFT TEST
Formula Renault UK star Alexander Sims made a very welcome return to the top of the timesheets during official testing at Croft Circuit today, the Manor Competition driver overcoming a spectacular accident to reassert himself as a genuine podium contender.
The 19-year-old, who is currently in his first full season of single-seater action in the UK's most competitive one-make championship, produced the quickest lap during the second of today's four sessions at the 2.1-mile North Yorkshire venue with a time of 1m 17.975 seconds (98.11mph), a 10th of a second faster than series leader Duncan Tappy.
Impressively, Alexander was also second fastest on a drying track during the first of today's sessions with a lap of 1m 19.825 seconds (95.84mph) -- all after seeing his involvement in Wednesday's test cut short following a spectacular crash at Clervaux.
With rain falling hard during the afternoon, the Peterborough-based sensation hit a particularly nasty puddle as he braked for the first corner and from that point on he was a passenger as his car aquaplaned off the circuit and ploughed backwards into the barriers, the result seeing his Formula Renault suspended in mid-air in the catch-fencing.
Thankfully avoiding any injury at all, and with less damage to the car then expected considering the size of the impact, the Manor team worked into the night on Wednesday in order to get the car repaired for today's outing which saw Alexander return to the sort of form he showed during last November's Formula Renault UK Winter Championship.
In the third of today's sessions, the J.O Sims, Ocean Spray, Northern Fruit Company, H.K Wing Long Packaging and Clink Street Properties-backed star produced a lap of 1m 18.203 seconds (97.83mph), good enough for seventh place, and then went on to post the fifth best time in the final session with a lap of 1m 17.861 seconds (98.26mph).
"We made a big step forward over the last couple of days and I'm now starting to drive much better and returning to the kind of pace we showed at the end of last year", said Alexander at the conclusion of the two day official test outing.
"I went through the data yesterday with Tony (Shaw -- Manor Competition team owner) and we looked at where I was costing myself time. As soon as I got back in the car today I felt comfortable and we showed the sort of pace which I should have been producing in the first few races."
He continued: "I'm very pleased we were fastest in session two and also second fastest in the first of today's sessions. We didn't use new tyres when others did either so to be fifth fastest this afternoon in those circumstances shows things are a lot better and that we're making good progress."
Reflecting on Wednesday's accident, Alexander added: "It was pretty spectacular but thankfully I didn't have any injuries and the car escaped relatively unscathed. The rear wing was destroyed and we had some suspension damage but it could have been much worse. All of the guys in the team did a fantastic job, working into the night to make sure the car was ready for this morning. I really did appreciate that."
Alexander's next track action will come just over two weeks from now when he returns to Croft, the scene of his maiden Formula Renault UK podium success last November, for rounds seven and eight of the 2007 championship.