MANOR DELIGHTED WITH LOANE PROGRESS AT SNETTERTON Northern Ireland's Kris Loane enjoyed his most impressive outing to date in a Formula Renault UK car during the second day of official testing at Snetterton Circuit in Norfolk today, Manor ...
MANOR DELIGHTED WITH LOANE PROGRESS AT SNETTERTON
Northern Ireland's Kris Loane enjoyed his most impressive outing to date in a Formula Renault UK car during the second day of official testing at Snetterton Circuit in Norfolk today, Manor Competition's emerging star posting the third fastest time.
Having shown very competitive pace throughout the opening day of the test on Wednesday, the 18-year-old made further strides forward this morning to set a best lap of 1m 04.874 seconds (108.321mph), a mere 1,000th of a second shy of second place, easily marking him out as the cream of the drivers eligible for the 2007 'Graduate Cup'.
Unfortunately for Loane, however, today's test concluded as a bittersweet experience when a front wing failure forced him off the circuit at Riches Corner causing a great deal of damage to his car and eventually leading to the cancellation of the afternoon session.
Speaking on the incident, which is currently being investigated by Renault Sport UK officials, Manor Competition team boss Tony Shaw said: "It seems the lowest part of the new front wing is coming into contact with the kerbs and the resulting damage looks to be what caused the wing on Kris' car to collapse."
For this year's championship, a redesigned front wing assembly is just one part of a relatively substantial overhaul of the aerodynamics on the FR 2.0 cars but it now appears there may be some safety concerns which are being looked into ahead of next Tuesday's planned exclusive test at Brands Hatch Indy Circuit in Kent.
Shaw added: "It's a real shame we had to curtail the test but on the grounds of safety it was the only thing to do. Alex (Morgan) was on the sidelines at the time the failure on Kris' car occurred as he too had a problem with a damaged wing so, all in all, stopping the test early was the sensible decision to take."
Welshman Morgan, who has now recovered from the virus which blighted his outing at Rockingham last week, enjoyed an impressive Snetterton outing. After concluding the opening day just outside the top 10, he improved by two 10ths of a second this morning to post a best lap of 1m 05.179 seconds (107.814mph), lifting him into the top eight.
Team-mate Alexander Sims, widely regarded as a future single-seater champion, ended this morning's session a fraction ahead of Morgan with a quickest lap of 1m 05.146 seconds (107.868mph) but the time was all the more noteworthy considering the drivers ahead of him had conducted runs on new tyres, which Sims hadn't had the benefit of.
Yesterday, Sims' best of 1m 05.123 seconds (107.907mph) had seen him put his marker down as the quickest of the Manor drivers but although Loane would eventually post a faster time, Sims' consistency over the last two days has been a highlight.
Formula Renault BARC Champion Richard Singleton, meanwhile, also improved between the two days of the Snetterton test, taking two 10ths of a second off his best lap from Wednesday's two sessions with a time of 1m 05.206 seconds (107.769mph) this morning. This placed him less than a 10th of a second away from the top six.
Reflecting on the pace of the Manor drivers, a delighted Shaw said: "We're over the moon really, we know we have a quick car and all four of our drivers have done very well over the last two days. Kris has been outstanding and to end this morning third on the times was a fantastic achievement.
"Alexander has been right up there again and he didn't have the opportunity to take a good run on new tyres, which his rivals did, so he's feeling rightfully confident. Alex too has shown he is improving very nicely and produced some very good times as did Richard who is benefiting all the time from these test sessions."
Brands Hatch Indy Circuit,the venue for the season-opening race meeting at the end of the month, is scheduled to host the next official pre-season test on Tuesday, 13th March. However,the running of the test will be dependant on Renault Sport's investigations into the front wing failure on Kris Loane's car.