THIRD POLE POSITION OF SEASON FOR MANOR Dean Smith continued his great Michelin Formula Renault UK Championship form at Oulton Park Island Circuit this afternoon, Saturday, 30th May, by securing his third pole position start of 2009 for the...
THIRD POLE POSITION OF SEASON FOR MANOR
Dean Smith continued his great Michelin Formula Renault UK Championship form at Oulton Park Island Circuit this afternoon, Saturday, 30th May, by securing his third pole position start of 2009 for the Manor Competition team.
The Wolverhampton racer, who took a double pole position last time out, just missed out on replicating the performance at the Cheshire venue earlier today but still has high hopes of fighting for a double victory after claiming third on the grid for round seven and pole position for the eighth round of the campaign.
Lapping with a best time of 1m18.171 seconds (102.51mph) in this morning's round seven session, Smith then produced the fastest qualifying time of the day in the round eight shoot-out with a tremendous lap of 1m 17.964 seconds (102.78mph).
In absolutely scintillating form for the New Ollerton squad was 16-year-old Alice Powell, her highlight performance coming during round seven qualifying where she posted the eighth fastest time overall and the second quickest lap by a Graduate Cup competitor. Lapping in 1m18.651 seconds (101.88mph), the category's sole female racer was just six 10ths of a second shy of pole.
Powell backed her first effort up superbly in the round eight session, the ninth fastest time of 1m18.680 seconds (101.85mph) placing her ninth on the grid for the second of Sunday's races and giving the Oxfordshire star a fantastic opportunity to record the first double top 10 finish of her rookie season.
Surrey teenager David McDonald was an impressive sixth fastest in round seven qualifying with a time of 1m18.472 seconds (102.12mph), less than half a second outside pole position, while in the round eight session he just missed out on the top 10 after suffering with traffic. His lap of 1m18.769 seconds (101.73mph) places him 12th on the grid for race two tomorrow.
For Thomas Hylkema, the promise he showed in testing on Friday wasn't quite carried through to today's track action but he will start race one from 11th on the grid, after posting a time of 1m 18.704 seconds (101.81mph) in round seven qualifying, and will begin the second encounter from 15th place after lapping in session two with a best time of 1m18.863 seconds (101.61mph).
"We knew we were quick in the second test session on Friday so we did have high hopes for qualifying and we're delighted with the overall team performance", said Manor team boss Tony Shaw, "Dean didn't quite get pole in the first session but that was only by a very small margin and then in the second session he produced a tremendous lap.
"Alice has done an extraordinary job, two top 10 starts at a place like Oulton Park is incredible. David got a bit of traffic unfortunately in the second session which prevented another top six or top eight start for him and Thomas was caught up with (James) Calado which compromised the session for both drivers. We're confident we have a good race car, we're really looking forward to tomorrow."
Round seven of the 2009 Michelin Formula Renault UK Championship is scheduled to take place at 12.55 tomorrow, Sunday, 31st May, and will be beamed live across the UK on Freeview, cable and digital satellite channel ITV4. The eighth round will follow at around 17.50.
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