ROCKINGHAM PODIUM HELPS LIFT SIMS TO FOURTH IN TITLE RACE Wansford based Formula Renault UK title contender Alexander Sims secured his first podium finish of the 2008 season at Rockingham International Super Sports Car Circuit on Saturday, 12th...
ROCKINGHAM PODIUM HELPS LIFT SIMS TO FOURTH IN TITLE RACE
Wansford based Formula Renault UK title contender Alexander Sims secured his first podium finish of the 2008 season at Rockingham International Super Sports Car Circuit on Saturday, 12th April, the result helping lift him into the championship top four.
Backed up with a fourth place finish during the second outing of the weekend yesterday, Sunday, 13th April, the 20-year-old remains firmly in touch with the top of the drivers points table. However, he did leave his 'home' venue somewhat disappointed not to have been able to challenge for a win.
Qualifying on Saturday set the scene for the weekend when Alexander had problems with one of his rear tyres but he extracted the best performance he could to take sixth on the grid for round three.
At the start of the first outing, the MSA British Race Elite programme member was at his most spectacular as he scorched away from the third row of the grid to move inside Manor Competition team-mate Kris Loane on the run through Turn One.
Alexander then moved ahead of Adriano Buzaid with a great pass to seize third place at Deene Hairpin and although remaining in touch with second placed Ryuji Yamamoto for the duration of the 16-lap race, there was nothing he could do to make more progress.
Nonetheless, sealing his first podium of the season from sixth on the grid was a terrific return -- and an outstanding drive -- so he hoped to be able to produce a comparable performance during Sunday's fourth round, which was screened live on ITV4.
As in the first race, Alexander did make a great getaway but wasn't quite able to gain additional ground from his grid slot of fourth. He did momentarily appear to be in with a chance of moving into third on the run to Deene but to no avail.
The tone of the race was then set from that point on with the top four remaining relatively static for the full 18 laps. The intervention of the Safety Car on the third tour could have shaken things up a little but at the re-start on lap seven, all remained unchanged.
Alexander did push third-placed Riki Christodoulou hard as the race resumed, particularly through Tarzan, and at the start of lap eight a slipstream attempt through Turn One looked as though it may pay off. Again though, he had to settle for fourth.
On lap 10, he posted his fastest lap of the race, at that point the second quickest time of all behind race leader Adam Christodoulou, but the Cambridgeshire driver had to be satisfied with fourth position in the end and 22 championship points to add to the 25 he secured on Saturday with his richly deserved rostrum finish.
Reflecting on the weekend, Alexander said: "I'm disappointed we haven't quite been able to hook everything up as we've wanted to but it will come, I'm sure of that. We know we're not where we should be but even so, a podium and a fourth place is good for the championship and keeps us firmly in the picture ahead of the next rounds at Donington.
"Our pre-season was incredibly strong and although we haven't been able to replicate the same level of performance over the first couple of race weekends, we've at least scored decent points in the face of a few difficulties which haven't been of our making, so I have to be satisfied with that.
"The team is doing a great job and I feel I'm driving well, we just haven't been able to pinpoint exactly why we're not right at the front where we should be. There's no doubt we'll be back on top form very soon though, I'm confident of that."
Rounds five and six of the 2008 Formula Renault UK Championship will take place at Donington Park National Circuit in Leicestershire three weeks from now, 3rd/4th May.
In the lead up to the Donington event, Alexander will take part in official Formula Renault UK testing at Croft Circuit in North Yorkshire on Tuesday, 22nd April, and Wednesday, 23rd April with his Manor Competition team.