SIMS & LOANE STAR AT BRANDS HATCH FOR MANOR Manor Competition is firmly in contention to challenge for race victory during round 15 of the Formula Renault UK Championship at Brands Hatch Indy Circuit tomorrow, the New Ollerton team mere 100ths...
SIMS & LOANE STAR AT BRANDS HATCH FOR MANOR
Manor Competition is firmly in contention to challenge for race victory during round 15 of the Formula Renault UK Championship at Brands Hatch Indy Circuit tomorrow, the New Ollerton team mere 100ths of a second away from celebrating a maiden category pole position for Alexander Sims during a highly competitive qualifying run this afternoon.
The 19-year-old continued the superb pace he showed during pre-event testing on Friday where he set the second fastest time overall, just five 10ths of a second shy of the top spot. This time though, Sims was even closer and just missed out on his maiden Formula Renault UK pole position by 0.078 seconds.
Actually sitting at the top of the times on more than one occasion during the 20-minute session, Peterborough-based Sims was forced to settle for second place in the end with his best lap a time of 47.061 seconds (91.69mph). He will also begin the race as the highest placed Graduate Cup runner.
During the round 16 qualifying period this afternoon, he wasn't quite able to match the performance and so will start the second of Sunday's two 24-lap encounters from eighth position on the grid after posting a best lap of 44.721 seconds (96.48mph).
His time was actually identical to the same 1,000th of a second of the best lap produced by Chris Holmes although the AKA Cobra driver was handed seventh place by virtue of the fact he posted his time earlier in the session.
Northern Ireland's Kris Loane produced an outstanding performance during round 16 qualifying, the 19-year-old posting a superb lap of 44.598 seconds (96.75mph) to earn fifth place on the grid, his best ever Formula Renault UK starting position, just six 1,00ths of a second shy of the second row. For round 15, Loane will start in 11th position.
Welsh racer Alex Morgan, meanwhile, didn't enjoy quite as good a run during qualifying as his two team-mates, the 20-year-old's best result coming in the round 15 session with a lap of 47.736 seconds (90.39mph) placing him 13th on the grid.
For round 16, Morgan will start two places further back in 15th position, even though his best lap of 44.851 seconds (96.20mph) was less than half a second outside the pole position time.
Commenting at the end of qualifying, Manor Competition owner Tony Shaw said: "We feel we could have had pole position for the first race but the front-row is good and I'm confident Alexander can make a good enough start to challenge for the lead into the first corner. If he can, the win is there for the taking.
"Kris did a terrific job in second qualifying to be in the top five and it just goes to show the progress our drivers are making. As we've said all year, we know our cars are good we've just needed to shake off the bad luck. Alex was disappointed to be outside the top 10, especially after enjoying a good test on Friday, and it does mean he'll have his work cut-out as overtaking is so tough at Brands Hatch Indy."
Round 15 of the 2007 Formula Renault UK season is timetabled to begin at 10.00 tomorrow, Sunday, 19th August, with round 16 expected to follow at 17.00.