STRONG NURBURGRING DEBUT BOOSTS SIMS AHEAD OF PENULTIMATE FORMULA RENAULT UK ROUNDS Formula Renault UK race-winner Alexander Sims believes he has an excellent chance of two podiums at Donington Park Grand Prix Circuit next weekend, 8th/9th ...
STRONG NURBURGRING DEBUT BOOSTS SIMS AHEAD OF PENULTIMATE FORMULA RENAULT UK ROUNDS
Formula Renault UK race-winner Alexander Sims believes he has an excellent chance of two podiums at Donington Park Grand Prix Circuit next weekend, 8th/9th September, during the penultimate race meeting of the 2007 championship.
The 19-year-old, who claimed his maiden category victory at the Leicestershire venue's National Circuit configuration in mid-July, received a timely confidence boost this past weekend at the Nurburgring in Germany where he produced a superb performance on his, and Manor Competition's, debut in the Formula Renault Northern European Cup.
Alexander, who is supported by Spalding-based J.O Sims, Ocean Spray and American sponsors Northern Fruit Company and Stemilt Growers, showed tremendous pace from the off during the opening free practice, heading the timesheets for at least the first half of the session.
In qualifying, the Peterborough ace continued to impress the NEC regulars after posting an outstanding lap of 1m 25.789 seconds to achieve fourth position on the grid for the ninth round of the championship. He then produced a similarly strong effort in round 10 qualifying to set the fifth fastest time with a lap of 1m 25.878 seconds.
Although the first race ended in disappointment for Alexander after suffering a broken steering rack while duelling for position, the second encounter saw him achieve a solid top five finish. On the back of a podium result at Brands Hatch during the most recent Formula Renault UK race meeting, Alexander is enjoying an excellent end to 2007.
"We were fast straight away which was really promising, to be P1 for the first half of the opening free practice was a fantastic start to the weekend", commented Alexander, "New tyres were used by the others before we did but as we made changes to the car we went faster and faster anyway.
"Qualifying went very well, it was excellent to be on the second and third rows on our first time at the Nurburgring and when you take into consideration the European teams have about six 10ths of a second per lap advantage from their engines over the UK runners it shows, all things being equal, we could have been on pole."
The Manor star added: "Unfortunately in the first race the steering broke after contact with another car. Race two was solid though, we showed strong pace and to finish fifth was good. We also made some progress with my starts for the second race which is hopefully going to make a lot of difference at Donington.
"I'm quite pleased with how everything went last weekend and I'm very impressed with the Nurburgring, it's a great track. It was good experience and there's a possibility we'll maybe take part in the Hockenheim rounds of the NEC later in the year. It's all good experience for the future."
Biggest race meeting of Sims' career up next Alexander and his Manor Competition team will return to the more familiar surroundings of the Formula Renault UK Championship next weekend, 8th/9th September, for the 17th and 18th rounds of the season at Donington Park Grand Prix Circuit.
Away from its usual slot on the British Touring Car Championship package, the category will race at the Leicestershire venue as support to the World Series by Renault and with over 100,000 spectators expected across the weekend, the meeting will undoubtedly be the biggest of Alexander's maiden season in car racing.
His first ever run on the world-famous Grand Prix configuration will come a week today, Wednesday, 5th September, during official pre-event testing and the Cambridgeshire racer is confident of challenging at the sharp end during the penultimate two rounds of the season.
"I'm really looking forward to Donington, hopefully we'll be able to end the weekend with two podiums", said Alexander, "Racing with 100,000 spectators looking on will be an awesome experience and although I've never driven on the Grand Prix layout before, I'm confident of some very good results."