MULTIPLE CHAMPS MANOR CONTINUE TO SET PRE-SEASON PACE Manor Competition sounded yet another warning to its 2008 Formula Renault UK rivals during the second official test of the pre-season at Brands Hatch Indy Circuit this week, 19-year-old ...
MULTIPLE CHAMPS MANOR CONTINUE TO SET PRE-SEASON PACE
Manor Competition sounded yet another warning to its 2008 Formula Renault UK rivals during the second official test of the pre-season at Brands Hatch Indy Circuit this week, 19-year-old Alexander Sims once again topping the times with a stunning performance.
Impressing during last week's two-day outing at Rockingham in Northamptonshire with Sims and team-mate Kris Loane locking out the top two positions overall, Manor proved its pace is most definitely genuine with another sparkling display at Brands Hatch over the course of the last two days, Tuesday, 4th March, and today, Wednesday, 5th March.
The New Ollerton squad concluded the Brands outing this afternoon with Sims having set a best time of 43.709 seconds (98.72mph) during the four-hour morning session. Electing to sit-out the second session in order to conserve tyres, and with little to gain from continuing, the Formula Renault UK race winner saw his time stand unbeaten.
"We're pleased with how this week's test has gone", said Manor boss Tony Shaw, "The team has worked very well together once more and for Alexander to be on top of the timesheets yet again, as he was at Rockingham last week, it shows our pace is real.
"It was a conscious decision for Alexander to sit-out the afternoon session today. It wasn't over-confidence but there was no reason for him to continue. He knows the circuit well now and we achieved what we wanted to in the morning. I have to say we didn't expect to stay on top until the end of the day but I was pleasantly surprised we did!"
Northern Ireland star Loane spent almost the entire two days at Brands Hatch using old rubber as the he and his race engineer, Manor co-owner Sarah Shaw, concentrated on several different areas.
When the 19-year-old did take new tyres towards the end of the test, he posted the third fastest time of the session with a lap of 44.041 seconds (97.97mph). Although heading up the timesheets for a large part of the afternoon, Loane didn't quite get the best out of his fresh rubber. Had he done so, another Manor one-two was very likely.
Sarah Shaw explained: "Kris ran on very old tyres for almost the entire test as we wanted to work on a few things. He used some fresh tyres towards the end today but didn't quite get the best out of them. Third fastest was ok though, we know the pace is there and he will be strong this year."
Graduate Cup runner Henry Surtees, who makes his full season Formula Renault UK debut in 2008, had a more challenging outing than his two experienced team-mates although there is undoubtedly much more to come from the 17-year-old rookie.
Underlining the competitiveness of the series, Surtees' best time of 44.369 seconds (97.25mph) -- which he posted on Tuesday -- was just six 10ths of a second shy of Sims' overall best and yet placed him 18th overall. Having impressed during the first official pre-season test at Rockingham, the Formula BMW UK race winner is now focused on next week's outing at Snetterton.
"It's been a tough couple of days for Henry", added Tony Shaw, "He wasn't quite able to get into the groove of things but we know he's very quick and I'm confident he'll bounce back strongly for next week's test."
Taking into consideration overall times for the two days at Brands Hatch, Sims led the way a 10th of a second clear of his nearest rival with Loane classified in 11th position and Surtees in 18th place on the timesheets.
Manor's trio will return to action next week on Tuesday, 11th March, and Wednesday, 12th March, at Snetterton Circuit in Norfolk for the third test of the official Formula Renault UK pre-season.