UK: Manor Competition Donington Park qualifying report

SMITH SECURES DOUBLE DONINGTON POLE FOR MANOR COMPETITION Experienced Michelin Formula Renault UK racer Dean Smith secured Manor Competition's first pole position of the year at Donington Park National Circuit today, Saturday, 16th May, with an...

SMITH SECURES DOUBLE DONINGTON POLE FOR MANOR COMPETITION

Experienced Michelin Formula Renault UK racer Dean Smith secured Manor Competition's first pole position of the year at Donington Park National Circuit today, Saturday, 16th May, with an excellent performance during round five qualifying -- before doubling up with an equally fantastic pole position in the round six session.

Seeing the multiple championship winning team make a welcome return to the top of the timesheets, the 21-year-old took the round five pole position with a lap of 1m05.888 seconds (106.94mph) and then in the round six session this afternoon he secured his back-to-back pole start with a time of 1m10.902 seconds (99.38mph).

The rain-affected second session was very well judged by Smith and the Manor team, the decision to remain on wet weather tyres until the end as the track continually dried working in their favour. The result puts the 2007 category Vice-Champion in a great position to fight for his first win since returning to the series three weeks ago at Thruxton Circuit.

On a great day all round for the New Ollerton-based squad, 19-year-old David McDonald produced his most competitive effort of the season so far with a terrific fifth fastest time during the round five session, a lap of 1m06.302 seconds (106.27mph) earning him a place on row three. For round six, McDonald was strong again and set the 10th best lap with a time of 1m12.189 seconds (97.60mph).

Dutchman Thomas Hylkema made it three Manor cars inside the top 10 for round five with the ninth fastest time, 1m06.534 seconds (105.90mph) -- just two 10ths of a second shy of McDonald -- while in the second qualifying session he was 16th quickest with a lap of 1m12.563 seconds (97.10mph).

Girl racer Alice Powell, the championship's youngest competitor at only 16-years-of-age, produced a stunning effort in the first session to set the 13th quickest lap of 1m06.693 seconds (105.65mph), especially bearing in mind she missed the entire pre-event test on Thursday. For round six, she will unfortunately start 29th on the grid after a tricky run during the rain-affected session.

Speaking on the team's efforts, Manor Competition co-owner Sarah Shaw said: "We're obviously very happy to see Dean on pole for both of tomorrow's races, it was a great effort by him and the team has been working really hard to get back on top. All in all it's been a very good team performance and we're delighted with all four drivers.

"David did a fantastic job in the first session and he was unlucky not to be as high up in the second one, on his fastest lap at the end he was blocked by a couple of cars at the chicane. Thomas and Alice both went well in first qualifying too, Alice in particular was outstanding to be 13th fastest having missed the test on Thursday. We're definitely looking forward to tomorrow's races."

Rounds five and six of the 2009 Michelin Formula Renault UK Championship will take place at Donington Park tomorrow, Sunday, 17th May, with the first race getting underway at 10.30 and the second 16-lap encounter beginning at around 16.20. Round six will also be screened live on ITV4 which is available through Freeview channel 28, digital satellite channel 120 and cable channel 117.

-credit: manorcompetition.com

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About this article
Series Formula Renault
Drivers Dean Smith , Thomas Hylkema , Alice Powell , David McDonald