UK: Manor Competition Brands Hatch race report

SINGLETON PROVIDES MANOR CHEER AT TRICKY BRANDS Richard Singleton boosted Manor Competition spirits at Brands Hatch Indy Circuit yesterday, Sunday, 1st April,during the opening Formula Renault UK event of the season; a tricky weekend for the New...

SINGLETON PROVIDES MANOR CHEER AT TRICKY BRANDS

Richard Singleton boosted Manor Competition spirits at Brands Hatch Indy Circuit yesterday, Sunday, 1st April,during the opening Formula Renault UK event of the season; a tricky weekend for the New Ollerton squad happily culminating in a welcome top five result for the Welshman.

The 18-year-old's team-mate Alexander Sims also served a reminder of the team's status as a leading force in Formula Renault UK after climbing from 10th on the grid during round two to finish in seventh position at the chequered flag on a circuit notorious for its near-impossible overtaking opportunities.

While not the start to the new season the team had hoped for due to a variety of difficulties encountered during testing and qualifying, hard work and some great individual drives ensured Manor didn't depart the Kent venue without some reward.

This afternoon's second round was certainly the highlight with reigning Formula Renault BARC Champion Singleton taking fifth position ahead of round one victor Jeremy Metcalfe while Sims pressured the AKA Cobra driver all the way to the finish, taking seventh place just four 10ths of a second adrift of his rival.

During the first Formula Renault UK race of the day, Singleton again emerged as Manor's highest placed driver with eighth position while team-mate and countryman Alex Morgan climbed superbly from the back of the grid to 11th position at the finish having been forced to start at the tail of the field due to a brake problem in qualifying.

Northern Ireland's Kris Loane took 13th place in round one and 16th position in the second race to mark a steady first weekend of the season but for Sims the opening encounter ended all too early when he was forced wide on the outside of Paddock Hill Bend on the first lap, forcing the hot-shoe into retirement.

With a mixed bag of results for Manor from the season opening event, Singleton is currently the team's best placed driver in the full championship standings in joint-sixth position. Morgan holds joint-10th position, Sims is in 13th place and Loane is one place further adrift in 14th position.

In the 'Graduate Cup' standings, eligible drivers Singleton, Sims and Loane are in third, sixth and seventh places respectively.

Speaking on the weekend, team boss Tony Shaw said: "It's been difficult and quite frustrating really as we've had more than our fair share of problems. The team has worked very hard though and to see Richard and Alexander race so strongly with good pace in the second race gave us a big confidence boost.

"The weekend hasn't gone how we had hoped but I can't fault the work of the team and the effort our four drivers have put in. Richard obviously performed well and Alexander was very unfortunate in the first race. He had bad luck all weekend, in Friday's test we had to fit a new engine and then it turned out the unit was down on power.

"Then we had the problem with the brakes on Alex's car in first qualifying, on top of an accident in testing, but he did a great job to climb through to the top 12. Kris did all we could ask of him in his first couple of races with us and we're confident he will have a good season."

Shaw added: "We obviously didn't get the results we wanted, or that we know we're capable of, but Rockingham will be a different story altogether. I'm confident we will be strong and back where we belong challenging for podiums."

-credit: mc

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About this article
Series Formula Renault
Drivers Jeremy Metcalfe , Alexander Sims