SUPER SIMS TAKES FIRST RENAULT WIN AT DRENCHED DONINGTON Donington Park National Circuit provided the venue for a breakthrough performance from Formula Renault UK sensation Alexander Sims over the weekend, 14th/15th July, the Manor Competition...
SUPER SIMS TAKES FIRST RENAULT WIN AT DRENCHED DONINGTON
Donington Park National Circuit provided the venue for a breakthrough performance from Formula Renault UK sensation Alexander Sims over the weekend, 14th/15th July, the Manor Competition driver taming horrendous conditions to achieve his first ever win in single-seaters and the team's first victory since the 2006 Winter Championship.
After taking a maiden Formula Renault UK front-row start for round 11 during a highly impressive run in qualifying on Saturday morning, just missing pole position by six 100ths of a second, the 19-year-old went on to not only win the race earlier today but also became the first Graduate Cup runner to achieve an outright victory in the series.
Adding bonus points for fastest lap in the first race and 20 more points for a top five result in round 12, Peterborough-based Alexander has leapt into the top eight of the championship standings and also moves into fourth position in the Graduate Cup.
Lining up on the front-row alongside pole-sitter Dean Smith, the series leader seemed to get away well but Alexander ran side-by-side with him through Redgate Corner and very bravely took the lead around the outside on the run to Hollywood with a stunning move, especially considering the very wet, treacherous track surface.
Instantly able to pull away, Alexander built a tremendous lead and on lap three he achieved the two bonus points for fastest lap by setting a best time of 1m 25.037 seconds (82.85mph), a full 1.3 seconds quicker than anything Smith could muster.
Looking all set to achieve his first win in cars in dominant style, his lead was eroded on lap four with the emergence of the Safety Car which was deployed because of standing water at the Old Hairpin. After circulating for a handful of laps, the red flags were then shown after a decision was taken by officials to end the race on safety grounds.
Unfazed by the wet weather, Alexander felt comfortable and had no doubt after taking the lead at the first corner his maiden win was firmly within his grasp. Looking back on his most impressive weekend in Formula Renault UK, he said: "It's fantastic to win my first race and although it wasn't in the manner we wanted, we did all we could to impress and I think we proved we had the pace to win by a big margin had it run the full distance.
"I felt pretty comfortable out there, the car was working well and although it was tricky you just had to drive within the limits the conditions allowed. The track was very wet in places but it wasn't a problem. I've no doubt we wouldn't have been caught in that race, the important thing was to get the lead on the first lap which we did."
Qualifying sixth on the grid for round 12, just two 10ths of a second shy of the front row, Alexander again raced strongly to a fifth place finish. Runner-up in the Graduate Cup class, he also posted the fastest lap of any class runner less than two 10ths of a second shy of the outright quickest time.
"The second race was frustrating as I sat behind Richard (Singleton) for the entire time really", added the Cambridgeshire driver, "I'm sure I was quicker but it was just one of those things. I'm very pleased to have had such a consistent weekend all in all and delighted for the team we have our first win of the year. I've no doubt more will follow."
While an outstanding weekend for Alexander, it has also been a welcome return to form for Manor Competition and the Peterborough ace, who is sponsored by Spalding-based J.O Sims, Ocean Spray, Northern Fruit Company and Stemilt Growers, is delighted the fruits of their labour are starting to reap the rewards they deserve.
"I'm very happy for the team, they've been fantastic", he added, "After being on pole position last weekend at Val de Vienne for the eighth round of the French Formula Renault Championship and now this result I think we've shown we have turned a corner and our true pace is beginning to show along with some good consistency."
Now it's on to Snetterton in Norfolk -- effectively Alexander's home venue -- for rounds 13 and 14 of the Formula Renault UK season a fortnight from now on 28th/29th July. Before then there will be a day of exclusive testing at Snetterton this Thursday, 19th July.