MANOR AIMING FOR MORE WINS AT OULTON PARK Oulton Park Island Circuit hosts rounds seven and eight of the 2009 Michelin Formula Renault UK Championship this weekend, 30th/31st May, where Manor Competition will be aiming for more race victories ...
MANOR AIMING FOR MORE WINS AT OULTON PARK
Oulton Park Island Circuit hosts rounds seven and eight of the 2009 Michelin Formula Renault UK Championship this weekend, 30th/31st May, where Manor Competition will be aiming for more race victories after an outstanding outing at Donington Park nine days ago.
The New Ollerton squad, which is owned and run by experienced husband and wife team Tony and Sarah Shaw, made its return to the top step of the podium with Dean Smith during the fifth round of the campaign at Donington and achieved further podium success with the British Racing Drivers' Club (BRDC) Rising Star during round six where he raced to a fine second place.
Rocketing up the driver standings into the top eight, having missed the first two races of the season where he competed in the Porsche Carrera Cup GB Championship, Smith stamped his authority on the Donington weekend with a double pole position too and Manor has high hopes of attempting to repeat that performance just a few days from now.
"Donington was a great weekend for the whole team and, without a little bit of bad luck, it could have been even better", commented Sarah Shaw, " Dean did an outstanding job to give us our first win of the year, the first of many we hope. Although the first couple of events didn't provide the results we were hoping for, we really believe we've turned a corner."
David McDonald, who was also showing inspired form at Donington, has been improving steadily and has shown to have the pace to challenge for his maiden podium very soon. Oulton Park could very well be the 19-year-old's best chance yet of making his first visit to the Formula Renault UK rostrum, especially as he was quick during pre-season testing at the Cheshire venue.
The sole female racer in the championship this year, Alice Powell, claimed her first Graduate Cup class win during round five after a magnificent effort to keep half a dozen cars behind her lap after lap until the chequered flag. Under immense pressure, the 16-year-old showed skill far beyond her limited experience and a steely determination that should serve her well at Oulton Park.
Thomas Hylkema, who was consistently one of the fastest drivers during the 2009 pre-season, hasn't quite been able to replicate the same form so far during the first three championship events and did suffer the misfortune of retiring from both rounds at Thruxton in April. He did produce top 10 pace though at Oulton during the pre-season so will be hoping to kick-start his campaign at the weekend.
Shaw added: "David showed his best form yet during the last two rounds, he was very quick and raced brilliantly. His recent progress has been fantastic and we're confident he'll be as strong again this weekend. Thomas hasn't had the best of luck so far this season but he was strong when we tested at Oulton during the pre-season. There's no reason why he shouldn't be top six.
"Alice did an incredible job at Donington, we can't express how pleased we were with the effort she produced in qualifying and the performance in the first race. To have missed the test day and to have still come away with a season's best result and Graduate Cup class win was fantastic. Oulton is a challenging track for an experienced driver, let alone a rookie, but we're sure she'll go very well."
Following pre-event testing at Oulton Park's Island Circuit on Friday, 29th May, Manor's quartet of drivers will take part in round seven and eight qualifying at 10.40 and 15.05 respectively on Saturday, 30th May.
Both of the weekend's races will be held on Sunday, 31st May, with round seven commencing at 12.50 and round eight concluding the day's track action at around 17.50. The first of the Formula Renault UK races is scheduled to be screened live on ITV4 -- channel 28 on Freeview, cable channel 117 and channel 120 through digital satellite.
2009 Michelin Formula Renault UK Championship Standings (after Rd6): 8th Dean Smith, 80pts; 13th David McDonald, 55pts; 18th Alice Powell, 31pts; 20st Thomas Hylkema, 29pts
2009 Michelin Formula Renault UK 'Graduate Cup' Standings (after Rd6): 7th Alice Powell, 31pts
2009 Michelin Formula Renault UK Team Standings (after Rd6): 4th Manor Competition, 168pts