MANOR COMPETITION DELIGHTED TO TAKE MAIDEN WIN OF 2007 Leading Formula Renault UK entrant Manor Competition returned to its rightful place on the top step of the podium at Donington Park National Circuit on Sunday, 15th July, after seeing ...
MANOR COMPETITION DELIGHTED TO TAKE MAIDEN WIN OF 2007
Leading Formula Renault UK entrant Manor Competition returned to its rightful place on the top step of the podium at Donington Park National Circuit on Sunday, 15th July, after seeing Alexander Sims take victory during the 11th round of the 2007 season.
The race win, Sims' first since he graduated into single-seaters from international karting at the end of last year, came in horrendous wet conditions and Manor also had further reason to celebrate with Alex Morgan taking a season's best top 10 finish in round 12 and Kris Loane equalling his best result of the campaign, one place ahead in ninth.
On the back of 19-year-old Sims achieving his first ever Formula Renault pole position at Val de Vienne last weekend ahead of the eighth round of the French Championship, the New Ollerton team really does look to be hitting a rich vein of form now all three drivers have been able to get some essential track time under their belts during recent tests.
Round 11 qualifying on Saturday, 14th July, saw Sims miss out on his first UK pole position by the slimmest of margins, just six 100ths of a second, due to traffic and although the race itself was cut-short by officials on the grounds of safety due to standing water, there is no doubt Sims would have dominated come what may.
An outstanding start by the Peterborough driver saw him move alongside pole-sitter Dean Smith into Redgate Corner and bravely choosing to hold the outside line on the run to Hollywood, Sims took the lead and immediately began to pull away.
After just three laps he had an advantage of more than three seconds and on the third lap alone, where he set fastest lap, he was 1.3 seconds quicker than Smith. After a short Safety Car period enforced by the officials due to the weather, the race was halted and thus Sims became the first ever Graduate Cup runner to win a race outright.
After qualifying in the top 10, Welshman Morgan finished the race in 12th place following an unfortunate spin while Northern Ireland's Loane ended the first of the weekend's two encounters in 16th position.
Speaking on Manor's success, team owner Tony Shaw said: "We're all absolutely delighted and very proud of the way Alexander handled the start and then controlled the race easily until the decision was taken to stop the race. We didn't want to win it that way but it was out of our hands.
"I'm confident he would have won by 10 seconds or more had the race gone the full 16 laps, the whole team has done an absolutely fantastic job and hopefully this is the start of a good second half of the season for Manor Competition."
During the second of the weekend's races, which took place on an almost fully dry track, Sims finished in fifth place, consolidating his new-found eighth position in the standings, with Loane taking an excellent ninth, half a second ahead of team-mate Morgan.
"I'm delighted with the performances Alex and Kris have put in this weekend, they're both improving well and now we have had some positive test time that essential experience is paying off. We've got a great team and an excellent car and I see no reason why Alex or Kris won't soon be battling for the top six."
Sims' superb weekend has seen him climb into the top eight in the championship and into fourth place in the Graduate Cup rankings. Morgan is 13th in the championship while Loane is 15th in the main standings and seventh in the Graduate Cup.
Manor Competition's next outing will come at Snetterton Circuit this Thursday, 19th July, as part of an official Formula Renault UK test. The Norfolk venue will then host the 13th and 14th rounds of the season a fortnight from now on 28th/29th July with a pre-event test on Friday, 27th July.
In further news, the Formula 3 Euroseries operation of sister-team Manor Motorsport enjoyed a maiden victory for Franck Mailleux at Mugello in Italy on Sunday, the rookie's first ever F3 race win. The Frenchman, of course, won the 2006 Formula Renault UK Winter Championship with Manor Competition, undefeated with four straight wins.