RAPID SIMS EARNS 'DRIVER OF DAY' STATUS AT CROFT Emerging single-seater talent Alexander Sims is today celebrating after being named THB Clowes 'Driver of the Day' following a season's best performance at Croft Circuit in North ...
RAPID SIMS EARNS 'DRIVER OF DAY' STATUS AT CROFT
Emerging single-seater talent Alexander Sims is today celebrating after being named THB Clowes 'Driver of the Day' following a season's best performance at Croft Circuit in North Yorkshire yesterday, Sunday, 3rd June, during the eighth round of the 2007 Formula Renault UK Championship.
The Peterborough-based 19-year-old, formerly a pupil at Stamford School, raced to a well deserved fifth place finish during the second of the weekend's two Formula Renault UK races but, just as importantly, his lap times were consistently matching those of race winner Will Bratt and championship leader Duncan Tappy to a 10th of a second.
Alexander's best race lap during Sunday's 15-lap encounter was 1m 19.492 seconds, compared to the fastest lap of all set by title contender Dean Smith which was a mere eight 100ths of a second quicker.
The race itself saw the Manor Competition sensation make a great start from a season best fifth on the grid to immediately pressure fourth-placed Tappy and it was only on the 11th tour when the series leader was given breathing space after a piece of Alexander's front wing broke away as he negotiated the Sunny In, Sunny Out series of corners.
Compromising his downforce, grip and subsequent pace, Alexander initially fell back to sixth position as Adam Christodoulou moved ahead but the Cambridgeshire ace quickly reassumed the place when his rival made a mistake just three corners later.
Delighted to record his best result of the year, and to also be awarded 'Driver of the Day' status for round eight, Alexander commented: "This weekend has been our best showing of the season so far and the good thing is that I can only see things getting better as the season progresses.
"We've taken a massive step forward this weekend so I'm very pleased. I really want to say a big thank you to the team for all their work, everyone has worked so hard to help bring me up to the level I'm at now and without their efforts I couldn't have done it.
"Tony (Shaw; Manor Competition team boss) is so passionate about the sport and it's nice to see a smile on his face like the one he had after the second race yesterday. I think we've turned a corner this weekend, I'm really looking forward to the next race."
Saturday's seventh round of the championship also promised great things and although a difficult opening lap saw Alexander lose a couple of positions from his third row start, the multiple karting champion looked set for a strong result.
Unfortunately those hopes faded to nothing when sixth-placed Adriano Buzaid appeared to 'brake-test' Alexander as they approached Clervaux at the start of lap three. With nowhere to go, the Manor ace simply couldn't avoid a collision and the contact resulted in him retiring on the spot while instigator Buzaid continued to finish an eventual 12th.
"It was a shame for the first race to end as it did but that's racing", added Alexander, who is sponsored by Spalding-based J.O Sims, Ocean Spray, Northern Fruit Company and Stemilt Growers, "The important thing is that we came back stronger in race two and showed what we're truly capable of.
"The car felt very good this weekend and to be just a few 100ths of a second off the fastest lap of all in Sunday's race was great. I'm hopeful the next two rounds at Oulton Park should be good too. We haven't had anywhere near as much testing there but there's no reason for us not to be in the top five again."
Even though Alexander only had one points-scoring finish to add to his championship total at Croft, it has enabled him to retain 10th position on the driver standings. In the 'Graduate Cup' rankings for young, inexperienced racers he is currently fifth.
There is now a three week break in the Formula Renault UK calendar with rounds nine and 10 of the season scheduled to take place at Oulton Park Island Circuit in Cheshire on 23rd/24th June.