FANTASTIC SIMS TAKES FIFTH PODIUM OF YEAR AT SILVERSTONE Alexander Sims raced superbly in front of 70,000 fans at Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit today, Sunday, 8th June, to record his fifth podium of the season during the 12th round of the...
FANTASTIC SIMS TAKES FIFTH PODIUM OF YEAR AT SILVERSTONE
Alexander Sims raced superbly in front of 70,000 fans at Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit today, Sunday, 8th June, to record his fifth podium of the season during the 12th round of the Formula Renault UK Championship -- the result tasting all the sweeter for the series front-runner having faultlessly carved his way through from sixth on the grid.
The 20-year-old, from Wansford near Peterborough, didn't put a wheel wrong in 16 laps of action during the second of the weekend's races at the home of the British Grand Prix and is confident he and his Manor Competition team have turned a corner in terms of performance and car set-up for the remainder of the campaign.
Added to the points for fifth position during the first race of the day, Alexander's third place finish in round 12 sees him leave Northamptonshire just 18 points shy of the runner-up spot in the driver standings. Heading into the World Series by Renault supporting event, he was 31 points adrift of second place.
"This result has really lifted the spirits of the team", said Alexander, "As I kept picking the cars off in the second race I thought we had a good chance to fight for the podium. (Josh) Scott was a long way up the road when I had moved into fourth place but I got my head down and it worked well.
"The first race didn't go our way, the car wasn't quite right and our pace wasn't what it should have been but for race two the car was fantastic. The team did an incredible job with the car between the two races and I could do exactly what I wanted.
"I was able to attack people and had the pace to fight for the podium, we weren't all that far from second place in the end either. Our performance was completely different during race two, I could put the car where I wanted, I could push where I wanted to push and I didn't suffer coming out of the corners as a result. I'm very pleased."
Starting this afternoon's encounter in sixth position, Alexander thankfully emerged unscathed from chaotic scenes at Club on the opening lap to remain in the top six where he would remain until the fourth tour.
Having pressurised fifth placed Dean Stoneman for several laps, the Cambridgeshire ace then produced a determined overtaking manoeuvre on the brakes into Abbey to seize the position.
Clearly the quicker of the two cars, the MSA British Race Elite member started to close rapidly on fourth placed James Calado. Scything his was past into Priory on lap six, he then set about closing the substantial 3.5 second gap between himself and the podium.
Reeling in third placed Josh Scott during the next five laps, heading into lap 11 the Manor Competition star was just seven 10ths of a second behind Scott and looking far quicker than his rival.
The decisive moment came at Stowe on lap 14 when, under severe pressure, Scott made a mistake under braking. Needing no second invitation, Alexander shot up the inside and made third place his own.
Immediately pulling clear of the Australian, Alexander then closed to within one second of championship leader Adam Christodoulou before the finish on lap 16. Confirming his superb race pace during the second of the weekend's encounters, Alexander was one of only three drivers to lap under the 1m 49 second bracket -- his best time of 1m 48.873 seconds was the second quickest lap of the race.
During the earlier 11th round, Alexander secured a top five result having run as high as third position early on. Defending as hard as he could up until mid-distance, he had to concede to Calado and Riki Christodoulou before the finish.
"Fifth place in the first race wasn't a disaster but if the car had been as good then as it was in race two, we'd have been on for a double podium I'm sure", said Alexander, "I'm very pleased with the progress we made though, especially after qualifying didn't go so well, and I'm looking forward to Snetterton with a lot of optimism.
"The changes we made between race one and race two were quite substantial changes, pretty elementary car set-up changes rather than just a tweak here or a tweak there. I'm confident we should be able to carry that through and show some proper pace for a full race weekend when we're back on track next month."
Immediately prior to the Silverstone GP race weekend, Alexander appeared live on the BBC Look East early evening news broadcast to talk about his season so far in Formula Renault UK. He also helped promote the World Series by Renault event which, with a combined crowd of 110,000 over the weekend, is set to be the second biggest motor racing meeting of the year behind the 2008 British Grand Prix.
Alexander now takes a five week break from competitive action before the season resumes on 12th/13th July at Snetterton Circuit in Norfolk, Formula Renault UK returning to its regular slot on the British Touring Car Championship package.
The Snetterton event is scheduled to host rounds 13 and 14 of the Formula Renault UK season. However, the 10th round of the campaign -- which was postponed a week ago due to adverse weather -- will also take place at Snetterton. With the results of round 10 qualifying still applying, Alexander will begin that particular race from second on the grid.