SIMS AND CHRISTODOULOU CLINCH POLE AT BRANDS HATCH Manor Competition's Alexander Sims (Peterborough) struck the first blow of the 2008 Formula Renault UK with Michelin Championship season by claiming pole position for round one during qualifying...
SIMS AND CHRISTODOULOU CLINCH POLE AT BRANDS HATCH
Manor Competition's Alexander Sims (Peterborough) struck the first blow of the 2008 Formula Renault UK with Michelin Championship season by claiming pole position for round one during qualifying on Saturday, 29th March. CR Scuderia Formula Renault's Adam Christodoulou (Lichfield) was fastest in the second qualifying session to set the grid for round two. Both races take place on Sunday, 30th March at Brands Hatch Indy circuit.
A rain shower before qualifying session one meant the majority of drivers began on wet tyres but by the end of the session a dry line had emerged with the whole field on slicks. Alpine Motorsport's Dean Stoneman (Southampton) moved to the top of the timesheets with six minutes left but was soon headed by both Christodoulou and Sims.
With just one minute remaining, enough time for two flying laps of the short 1.20-mile circuit, CR Scuderia's Scott Jenkins (Bristol) went quickest with a mark of 44.692s (96.55mph). The first-year driver was almost immediately overtaken by Sims, who set a best of 44.666s (96.60mph).
Despite the drying circuit, there was little improvement among the top six drivers on their final flying laps. Only Fortec Motorsport's Riki Christodoulou (Sutton Coldfield) was able to post his best time, 0.014s behind Sims but enough to put him on the front row. Jenkins held on to third ahead of Apotex Scorpio Motorsport's Josh Scott (Loughborough), Adam Christodoulou and CR Scuderia's Estonian racer Sten Pentus (Bardon).
Qualifying session two saw a complete reversal of the weather conditions with a dry track to begin with but heavy clouds threatening rain. Most drivers were keen to put in maximum effort in the early laps with Adam Christodoulou posting a lap of 44.083s on his sixth lap out of the pits. On the following lap he shaved 0.002s off that time, which was enough to give him pole position.
Fortec Motorsport's Oli Webb (Knutsford), in his debut season of Formula Renault UK racing, clinched second place ahead of Stoneman in third. Eurotek Motorsport's Jordan Oakes (Hopton) will start fourth, ensuring four different teams occupy the front two rows of the grid. Fortec's Adriano Buzaid (Oxford), who could only muster 11th place in the first session improved to line-up fifth with Sims alongside in sixth.
Commenting on the two sessions, Alexander Sims said: "I'm very happy with our pace in the first session. I think I was the second driver to take the chequered flag meaning almost everyone else had a chance to improve as the circuit dried towards the end, so to keep pole position is fantastic. In the afternoon session we didn't think the rain would come quite so soon but there's still a chance to score good points and it won't hurt the overall championship at all."
Pole-sitter for round two Adam Christodoulou said: "I'm much happier this afternoon and feel this is where I should have been this morning but for traffic on my quickest lap. The ideal scenario for me is for rain in the first race and dry conditions for the second and hopefully I'll be able to get my first Formula Renault UK win under my belt tomorrow."
Round one is scheduled to start at 10.00 BST with round two at 15.40, both races of 24 laps.