SIMS DELIGHTED WITH THIRD PODIUM VISIT OF SEASON AT THRUXTON Emerging Formula Renault UK star Alexander Sims underlined his status as a future category champion at Thruxton today, Sunday, 14th October, an excellent podium and additional top six...
SIMS DELIGHTED WITH THIRD PODIUM VISIT OF SEASON AT THRUXTON
Emerging Formula Renault UK star Alexander Sims underlined his status as a future category champion at Thruxton today, Sunday, 14th October, an excellent podium and additional top six result during the final two races of the 2007 season capping off what has been a successful maiden campaign in single-seaters.
The 19-year-old Peterborough racer mounted a determined challenge in both of the weekend's encounters to finish comfortably inside the championship top eight while also leapfrogging 2006 Formula Renault BARC Champion Richard Singleton in the Graduate Cup rankings.
"Finishing second during the first of the weekend's races was fantastic", commented Alexander, "I would have loved to achieve another win before the end of the season but I can't complain too much with our results here at Thruxton. We were definitely strong and to move into third in the Graduate Cup was a good way to end our first season in cars."
While qualifying on Saturday didn't produce the front row start Alexander had hoped for, the ILIP, Ocean Spray and J.O Sims-backed star still lined up a creditable fifth on the grid for rounds 19 and 20 with laps of 1m 10.307 seconds (120.63mph) and 1m 10.877 seconds (119.66mph) respectively in the two sessions.
At the beginning of Sunday morning's 19th round, the Manor Competition sensation started well and on the run through the incredibly fast Goodwood, Village and Church sequence of corners, he produced an outstanding pass on championship contender Dean Smith to bravely take fourth place.
For the next few laps, which included a short Safety Car period too, Alexander remained glued to the tail of third-placed Duncan Tappy but then the complexion of the race changed at the end of lap 12 when cousins Riki and Adam Christodoulou tangled at the Club Chicane taking the pair out of first and second positions respectively.
Benefiting from the unexpected turn of events, Manor's lead driver happily accepted second position where he would remain to the chequered flag. Alexander also posted the second fastest race lap with an excellent time of 1m 11.007 seconds (119.44mph).
In round 20, the championship finale, Alexander produced a near carbon-copy of his race one heroics by passing newly crowned champion Duncan Tappy for fourth position at Noble on the opening tour with a terrific overtaking manoeuvre.
Unfortunately, Alexander slipped to sixth during the next couple of laps but he continued to push on unfazed. This race proved to be a little more processional than the first at the front, however, so Alexander took the chequered flag in sixth place on lap 19 just four 10ths of a second shy of the top five.
Again he set one of the best race laps, 1m 11.059 seconds (119.35mph), which actually meant he posted the fastest lap of any Graduate Cup runner in both of the weekend's outings. Scoring a total of 46 points over the weekend, Alexander easily assured his top eight finish in the driver standings and climbed to third in the prestigious Graduate Cup.
"I was pretty strong in the second race at the start, I went to go round the outside at Goodwood and Church but then I lost out to a couple of cars which got a good tow from me up Woodham Hill. After that I had to hang in there really as we didn't seem to quite have the edge we did in the first race.
"The car has been good all weekend though and I'd like to thank the guys at Manor for doing a great job. It's been good to end the season with a podium, we've had a pretty consistent run since the Donington win mid-season, and now we're looking forward to the Winter Championship in November which I'm aiming to win!"
Before the aforementioned four-round Formula Renault UK Winter Championship which begins on Saturday, 3rd November, at Donington Park in Leicestershire, Alexander will return to competitive action at Barcelona in Spain for the final World Series by Renault race meeting of the year.
The event, which takes place on 27th/28th October, will see the Cambridgeshire ace racing in the latest instalment of the French Formula Renault Championship with his regular Manor Competition team.