RAPID SMITH WINS AGAIN FOR MANOR COMPETITION AT CROFT Dean Smith produced two more excellent performances for Manor Competition during rounds nine and 10 of the 2009 Michelin Formula Renault UK Championship over the weekend, 13th/14th June, to...
RAPID SMITH WINS AGAIN FOR MANOR COMPETITION AT CROFT
Dean Smith produced two more excellent performances for Manor Competition during rounds nine and 10 of the 2009 Michelin Formula Renault UK Championship over the weekend, 13th/14th June, to move to within just 19 points of the series lead.
Finishing a very close second to James Calado during the first race on Saturday, Wolverhampton ace Smith went on to completely dominate Sunday's encounter by taking a superb lights-to-flag victory and claiming two bonus points for the fastest lap.
Having claimed a quartet of race wins and two second places in the last six races, the 21-year-old is easily the highest scoring driver since the beginning of the Donington Park weekend in mid-May and his performances have also helped consolidate Manor's top three position in the entrant standings.
Lining up second on the grid for both of this weekend's Croft encounters, Smith wasn't able to leap-frog pole-sitter Calado at the start of round nine and with both drivers very evenly matched throughout, the Manor ace had to settle for second position.
Round 10 was a different prospect altogether though and after scorching into the lead off the grid, Smith pulled well clear of his pursuers to firmly stamp his authority on proceedings and then ease to a comfortable, unchallenged win.
"It's been another fantastic weekend for Dean, he's edging closer and closer to the championship lead", said Manor Competition co-owner Sarah Shaw, "We had the pace all weekend and his run in the second race, in particular, was outstanding and underlined his quality."
David McDonald impressed once again with a fine seventh place finish in round 10 on Sunday, but the Ewell-based driver had the misfortune of sustaining a broken front wing early on during the first of the weekend's races which totally ruined his chances of an expected good result.
Battling valiantly, McDonald did a great job to keep a long train of cars behind him lap after lap but with the problem making things progressively more difficult, he eventually had to succumb and slipped outside the points before retiring in the pits at the end of the penultimate lap.
Thomas Hylkema recorded a brace of points scoring results, the best of which coming with a fine drive to 11th place in round 10. Like team-mate McDonald, it was the first of the weekend's outings which proved to be least successful but the Dutch driver did manage to salvage a 16th place finish following a tricky run.
Alice Powell's best performance came in round nine on Saturday afternoon where she gained a couple of positions from her starting slot of 17th position to record a deserved top 15 result and sixth overall in the Graduate Cup. On Sunday, the Chipping Norton 16-year-old was in the thick of a frantic multi-car scrap at the lower end of the points positions and grabbed the final point for 20th place.
Shaw added: "David, Thomas and Alice all did a good job. It's so difficult to pass in Formula Renault at Croft, as soon as you get close enough to the car in front you lose front end downforce, especially when the grip of the tyres has gone. We're pleased with the weekend as a whole and really looking forward to the next two rounds at Silverstone GP."
Next on the agenda for Manor Competition is a two-day official test outing at Snetterton Circuit in Norfolk on Wednesday, 24th June, and Thursday, 25th June. Rounds 11 and 12 of the 2009 season will then be held on 4th/5th July at Silverstone Grand Prix in Northamptonshire as support to the British round of the World Series by Renault.
2009 Michelin Formula Renault UK Championship Standings (after Rd10): 3rd Dean Smith, 208pts; 12th David McDonald, 101pts; 14th Thomas Hylkema, 70pts; 20th Alice Powell, 49pts
2009 Michelin Formula Renault UK 'Graduate Cup' Standings (after Rd10): 7th Alice Powell, 49pts
2009 Michelin Formula Renault UK Team Standings (after Rd10): 3rd Manor Competition, 341pts