MIRACULOUS THRUXTON DRIVE NETS SIMS THIRD 2008 PODIUM Alexander Sims produced one of the most determined drives of his Formula Renault UK career at Thruxton Circuit in Hampshire this afternoon, Sunday, 18th May, to record a miraculous podium ...
MIRACULOUS THRUXTON DRIVE NETS SIMS THIRD 2008 PODIUM
Alexander Sims produced one of the most determined drives of his Formula Renault UK career at Thruxton Circuit in Hampshire this afternoon, Sunday, 18th May, to record a miraculous podium finish from 13th on the grid.
The 20-year-old member of the MSA British Race Elite climbed as high as second place at one stage during the eighth round of the championship and although slipping one position before the finish, Alexander was certainly pleased with his third visit to the podium of the season.
Added to seventh place during the earlier seventh round of the campaign -- another battling drive from ninth on the grid by the Manor Competition racer -- his points total from the weekend maintains fourth position in the driver standings as the halfway stage of the championship nears.
Commenting on his weekend's work, Wansford-based Alexander said: "I certainly wouldn't have expected a podium at the start of the second race, that's for sure, but to have come through from 13th on the grid to second and then finish in third place is pretty satisfying I guess.
"It's been quite a disappointing weekend for me and the team, the pace just hasn't been there, but taking into account the podium it's not been a complete disaster. I expected to try and fight for a couple of fifth place finishes, something like that, so to take a podium and seventh place means we're probably about where we expected points-wise."
Starting round eight, which was televised live throughout the UK on ITV4, from the seventh row of the grid, Alexander knew he had a huge task on his hands to achieve anything like a reasonable result. Making a good getaway, he quickly moved into 11th place where he battled with team-mates Henry Surtees and Kris Loane on lap two.
Having seen Loane crash out of the race with Dean Stoneman at the beginning of lap three at the complex, Alexander then produced one of the highlights of the race with an outstanding move into the chicane where he passed several cars to climb into fifth place, having avoided the barrel-rolling Formula Renault of Ryuji Yamamoto at Brooklands.
As the Safety Car started to circulate while Yamamoto's car was recovered, it had also become clear race and championship leader Adam Christodoulou was to be served with a drive-through penalty having jumped the start.
With James Calado also pitting due to damage sustained in the Yamamoto incident, Alexander found himself behind the Safety Car in third position and with a great chance of claiming a highly unexpected podium result. The re-start came on lap nine and Alexander immediately pounced, passing Joshua Scott for second place at the complex.
Catching new race leader Riki Christodoulou, Alexander soon had Scott looming large in his mirrors though and would be forced to defend second position rather than pressing on to challenge for the win. On lap 15, Alexander was unable to hold Scott's faster car behind him any longer and the Australian went through to second with Alexander holding third position to the flag.
This morning's seventh round saw Alexander start ninth on the grid and after climbing into the top eight he then passed Jordan Oakes on the inside at Allard on lap two to take seventh. From that point on, the Cambridgeshire star was unable to make any further headway and instead had to focus on a sterling defensive effort to keep Oakes at bay.
Reflecting on the day's two races, Alexander said: "In round eight I think Joshua (Scott) was genuinely faster than me. I didn't make a mistake when he re-passed me for second place, he just had the speed. I stayed with him for a couple of laps but I couldn't match him from that point on and had to settle for third.
"The first race wasn't great, I had to defend from (Jordan) Oakes quite a lot during the second half of the race but at least we scored some reasonable points. Thruxton was never going to be our best track and we did limit the damage with the podium in race two. Now, we really do need to start putting together a true championship challenge."
Sims to defend Renault Sport UK Charity Duathlon crown Alongside his motor racing commitments over the coming months, Alexander has also confirmed his participation in the second annual Renault Sport UK Charity Duathlon which will take place on Friday, 25th July, at Oulton Park in Cheshire. The Manor ace won the inaugural event last September which took place at Donington Park.
Competitors will cycle one lap of the 2.23-mile Oulton Park Island Circuit, they will then run for a further lap and the third and final lap will see a return to cycling. The event will be held at the conclusion of the day's official test sessions ahead of the 15th and 16th rounds of the Formula Renault UK Championship on 26th/27th July.
Organised with fundraising in mind, participants will each pay a fee to enter the duathlon and all monies will go to designated charity, the North West Air Ambulance.
Before then, Alexander's next competitive Formula Renault UK outing will come just a fortnight from now over the weekend 31st May/1st June -- the ninth and 10th rounds of the season taking place at Croft Circuit in North Yorkshire.