SIMS ENJOYS PROMISING FRENCH RETURN AT DIJON Peterborough-based racing star Alexander Sims made his second appearance of the year in the French Formula Renault Championship over the weekend, 12th/13th May, the 19-year-old again finishing as the...
SIMS ENJOYS PROMISING FRENCH RETURN AT DIJON
Peterborough-based racing star Alexander Sims made his second appearance of the year in the French Formula Renault Championship over the weekend, 12th/13th May, the 19-year-old again finishing as the top British driver during the sixth round of the season.
Having made an impressive category debut at Ledenon last month during rounds three and four of the season, taking excellent fifth and seventh place finishes respectively, Alexander returned to France over the weekend to contest rounds five and six of the campaign with the Pole Services squad at the renowned Dijon-Prenois circuit.
The second of the weekend's races was certainly the most impressive for the J.O Sims, Ocean Spray, Northern Fruit Company, H.K Wing Long Packaging and Clink Street Properties-backed driver, Alexander racing well to climb from 12th position on the grid to eighth place at the former home of the French Grand Prix.
Ending the race as top British driver, ahead of series regulars Jon Lancaster and Craig Dolby, the Cambridgeshire ace was confident of replicating the top five result achieved at Ledenon in April but a broken front wing, sustained on lap four, resulted in a serious lack of downforce for the majority of the race.
With the final two high-speed corners before the long straight at Dijon requiring lots of grip and downforce, the damage to Alexander's car -- the result of an over-zealous blocking attempt by a rival -- meant he had his work cut-out to remain inside the top 10 having enjoyed a terrific start to the encounter.
"The end plate and the flap on the front wing snapped off after the other guy cut across me on lap four and so it meant we lost time at each corner with the lack of downforce", explained Alexander, "That was particularly true for the corners leading onto the straight, you really need to be flat-out there and that's where I ended up losing most time.
"Without the damage I think we stood a good chance of being in the top five or six, we made a good start and passed a few cars during the first couple of laps. Even though we had to settle for eighth I think, on the whole, it was a very positive end to the weekend."
On his arrival at Dijon, Alexander immediately impressed by topping the times early-on in testing but a decision by the team to change the rear suspension springs during the final period, something the British ace didn't expect, proved to be the wrong way to go.
The result meant he qualified for the first race, round five, in 16th position and although he admitted he didn't get the best out of his tyres, good racecraft netted Alexander a solid 12th position, just two seconds shy of the top 10.
The next two rounds of the French Formula Renault Championship will take place at the Val de Vienne circuit in central France on 7th/8th July although Alexander has yet to confirm whether he will take part.
Sims looking forward to Croft return Alexander's next Formula Renault UK outing, meanwhile, will come during official testing at Croft Circuit in North Yorkshire this week, Wednesday, 16th May, and Thursday, 17th May. Day one of the test will be a fully exclusive day of Formula Renault running while day two will be a shared test alongside the ELF Renault Clio Cup.
Returning to his regular Manor Competition car, Alexander is hoping for a strong showing during this week's test which comes just over a fortnight ahead of the seventh and eighth rounds of the championship which will take place at Croft on 2nd/3rd June.
Croft, of course, was the venue of his maiden Formula Renault UK podium during last November's Winter Championship and the 19-year-old is hoping to put that experience to good use.
"We really are looking forward to the test at Croft and also the next two races in a couple of weeks", said Alexander, "Even though we've only raced there once we do have a good record so I'm hoping we'll be able to achieve our best results of the year.
"The last couple of rounds at Thruxton were pretty disastrous really but I know I was too aggressive in qualifying with my tyres and that cost me in the races. We're learning all of the time though and I'm confident Croft could see our best showing of the year."
Rounds seven and eight of the 2007 Formula Renault UK Championship will take place at Croft over the weekend 2nd/3rd June with additional pre-event testing scheduled for Friday, 1st June.