STRONG LATE-SEASON CHARGE CONTINUES FOR MANOR AT BRANDS Multiple title-winning Formula Renault UK entrant Manor Competition continued it's superb run of recent good form by claiming a richly deserved podium during round 15 of the season at...
STRONG LATE-SEASON CHARGE CONTINUES FOR MANOR AT BRANDS
Multiple title-winning Formula Renault UK entrant Manor Competition continued it's superb run of recent good form by claiming a richly deserved podium during round 15 of the season at Brands Hatch Indy Circuit yesterday, Sunday, 19th August, rookie ace Alexander Sims racing to a comfortable second place finish.
The 19-year-old single-seater ace, in his first season of car racing action, showed terrific pace during round 15 qualifying on Saturday, 18th August, to just miss out on a maiden series pole position by a mere eight 100ths of a second for the New Ollerton squad.
At the start of the first of the weekend's two races, Sims didn't make the best getaway but he remained close to pole-sitter and eventual winner Duncan Tappy for the duration of the 24-lap encounter and actually pulled out a huge eight and a half second cushion over third placed Adriano Buzaid in tricky drying conditions.
During the second race, Sims moved into seventh position from eighth on the grid but with just a handful of laps remaining a strange accident on the entry to Clearways saw him forced to retire from the race after shooting nose-in to the tyre barriers.
Closer inspection by the Manor team this morning has revealed Sims had picked up a very slow puncture, nothing larger than a pin-hole in the tyre, which was the reason for his car snapping out of control without warning.
Kris Loane achieved a brace of seventh place finishes from the weekend to secure his most consistent set of results and biggest haul of points from any of the eight race meetings which have been contested to date this year.
In round 16 qualifying particularly, the Northern Ireland star did a superb job by qualifying a stunning fifth fastest, just two 10ths of a second shy of pole position and quicker than title contender Dean Smith.
In the races, top seven and top eight finishes were good reward and while disappointed not to capitalise on his third row start in round 16, Loane really does look to be coming on in leaps and bounds as a very rapid driver.
Welsh star Alex Morgan could have been forgiven for approaching round 15 with some trepidation after suffering some big accidents in wet conditions but rather than that, he produced one of the better performances of his season with ninth position from 13th on the grid. At the chequered flag, he was just half a second behind eighth spot.
Round 16 saw Morgan classified in 12th position after a trickier run, he did cross the line in 13th place but a post-race exclusion for race-winner Duncan Tappy due to a technical infringement saw the 18 finishers each move up a position. This, of course, meant Loane achieved another top seven even though crossing the line in eighth place.
"We're obviously very happy to be back on the podium, had Alexander made a good start I'm sure we'd have been able to challenge harder for the win but second is still a good result", said Manor team boss Tony Shaw, "It's a great shame he had the off at Clearways in race two as he was driving well and pressuring the cars ahead.
"We've scoured the car this morning and managed to find a tiny pin-hole in one of the tyres which was the reason for the accident. We all knew it seemed very strange for Alexander to crash there like that, our thinking is that without the intervention of the Safety Car the puncture was so slow he may have just got away with it to the end.
Shaw added: "Kris' qualifying performance in the second session especially on Saturday was superb and it was frustrating for him and us to see him slip down the order outside the top 10 after a bad start. He fought back well though and a couple of top sevens isn't bad at all.
"Alex really needed a big confidence boost from the wet race and that's exactly what he got with a good drive. He's had some big accidents in those conditions so to come through inside the top 10 from 13th on the grid was excellent. All in all it's been a pretty good weekend, we know we could have had more but we're not unhappy."