SINGLETON MAKES HAY UNDER ROCKINGHAM SUNSHINE Formula Renault BARC Champion Richard Singleton provided one of the performances of the weekend during round three of the Formula Renault UK season at Rockingham Motor Speedway over the weekend, ...
SINGLETON MAKES HAY UNDER ROCKINGHAM SUNSHINE
Formula Renault BARC Champion Richard Singleton provided one of the performances of the weekend during round three of the Formula Renault UK season at Rockingham Motor Speedway over the weekend, 21st/22nd April, the Welsh star climbing a full six places during Sunday's first race to help maintain sixth position in the standings.
Marking Formula Renault UK's first visit to the Northamptonshire venue since 2003, the event was one of mixed emotions for Manor's quartet of drivers and none more so than Kris Loane who saw a superb career-best effort in qualifying count for nothing during two bitterly disappointing races for the youngster from Northern Ireland.
During Saturday's opening qualifying session, to determine the grid for round three, it was Peterborough's Alexander Sims who led the way for the North Ollerton squad with the eighth fastest time, a 10th of a second quicker than Loane in 10th place with Singleton achieving the 12th best time and fellow Welshman Alex Morgan in 16th place.
Hoping for a clean start to make the most of his first top 10 qualifying in Formula Renault UK, Loane failed to getaway from the grid after stalling but while he suffered awful misfortune, Sims enjoyed a great opening to lap to climb from eighth into fifth position.
As the end of the sixth lap neared, Sims got a bit out of shape at the chicane but on the flip-side Singleton was enjoying one of his most competitive runs of the year and on lap 10 he produced a great piece of opportunist driving to grab two positions at Deene Hairpin and move into the top six.
Singleton looked particularly strong during the closing stages of the race and put Adam Christodoulou under immense pressure, the latter just holding on to fifth place at the line by a single 10th of a second. Sims took the chequered flag in seventh, while Morgan finished a quiet race in 15th place.
It later became clear Morgan's engine was down on power, explaining the reason for his lack of pace in qualifying and the opening race, so the team worked hard to fit a new power-plant ahead of the second encounter.
Round four saw Singleton lead the way for Manor again, and although he spent almost the entire race around his qualifying spot of 10th place, a terrific final lap saw him gain two positions at the expense of Jordan Oakes and Chris Holmes.
Sims saw a promising start from 11th on the grid come to nothing on lap one when he was involved in contact with Will Bratt, resulting in the Manor star slipping down the order to an eventual race finish of 12th place.
For Loane it was another case of what might have been, the youngster forced to pit at the end of lap one after making contact with the perimeter wall. With the team confirming all was ok, Loane returned to the circuit and although the stop placed him a lap down on the leaders he did set an outstanding fourth fastest race lap, a terrific performance.
Alex Morgan, meanwhile, improved on his earlier result to finish inside the top 14 just a second shy of team-mate Sims. Had he not suffered from a lack of power from his Renault F4R engine in qualifying, the outcome could have been much different.
Looking back on a difficult race meeting, Tony Shaw said: "It's been one of those weekends for us. We're happy Richard is in the top six in the championship and Kris was a star in qualifying, it's such a shame for him things didn't work out in the races as he had good pace at Rockingham and underlined that with the fourth fastest lap in race two.
"Alexander obviously encountered some bad luck but everyone knows he's a very talented driver and we're confident things will come good very soon. Alex continues to plug away and he's starting to learn more about the car. I'm hopeful we'll be able to put the bad luck behind us from now on and start to enjoy the sort of results we deserve."