SIMS WINS & SURTEES SECURES MAIDEN RENAULT PODIUM Manor Competition drivers Alexander Sims and Henry Surtees enjoyed a fantastically successful weekend at Silverstone National Circuit, 30th/31st August, with Sims taking his second win of the ...
SIMS WINS & SURTEES SECURES MAIDEN RENAULT PODIUM
Manor Competition drivers Alexander Sims and Henry Surtees enjoyed a fantastically successful weekend at Silverstone National Circuit, 30th/31st August, with Sims taking his second win of the Formula Renault UK season and Surtees claiming his maiden podium.
One of the most rewarding outings of the 2008 campaign for the New Ollerton team, the 17th and 18th rounds of the championship marked a pivotal point in the title race where Sims was concerned and he performed brilliantly -- winning the first race from sixth on the grid and taking a fighting fourth place in the second encounter.
Closing down championship leader Adam Christodoulou's advantage to just 10 points, 34 points when the category's double 'drop-score' ruling is taken into account, the 20-year-old from Cambridgeshire can now go into the final weekend of the season at Brands Hatch in three weeks with a chance of becoming 2008 champion.
Surtees, meanwhile, raced very well indeed to his first ever Formula Renault UK podium during round 18, an outstanding performance bagging him by far his best result of the season from 15th on the grid. Shadowed during the closing stages by a charging Sims, Surtees didn't look like relinquishing the place and he held on well to the chequered flag.
Speaking on his win, Sims said: "It was nice to dominate with a really strong win and that's obviously been a major boost ahead of the last two races at Brands Hatch. The whole team, from the mechanics to the truckies, Tony (Shaw -- Manor Competition team boss) and his wife Sarah, they've all been fantastic. It's a great result for all of us."
At the start of round 17, Sims rocketed from sixth on the grid into third place by the time the field reached Copse Corner and after running wheel-to-wheel with Christodoulou through Luffield, he took second from his rival next time around the Brooklands.
Pole-sitter Adriano Buzaid led the race and after a four lap Safety Car period which ended in time for the start of lap eight, Sims pressured the Brazilian before the news filtered through that Buzaid was to be served with a drive-through penalty for being too far forward in his grid slot when the race began.
Taking the penalty at the end of lap 10, Buzaid plummeted down the order and Sims immediately assumed the race lead which he held to the chequered flag. He also posted the fastest lap of 54.980 seconds (107.31mph) -- the only driver in the race to lap under the 55 second barrier.
Kris Loane came through from 10th on the grid to finish in eighth place while Surtees finished in 12th position, one place ahead of team-mate Tom Armour -- the latter pair having started in 18th and 16th places respectively. Armour produced perhaps his best pass of the season when scything by two cars in one move at Brooklands on lap 15.
Debut podium delight for Surtees during round 18 Conditions changed ahead of the second race of the weekend, rain prior to the start making round 18 a wet race. Sims again started well, this time from fourth on the grid, but contact with Buzaid at Copse as they battled over third place resulted in the Manor car spinning.
Getting going again in 18th and last position, Sims came through the order impressively to finish in fourth place and eat in to Adam Christodoulou's championship advantage, the series leader having crashed out on lap one at Copse.
It was 17-year-old Surtees though who grabbed the headlines for Manor in round 18, the son of former World Motorcycling and Formula One Champion John Surtees OBE driving an incredible race in the tricky conditions to climb from 15th on the grid to third at the finish on lap 25.
Surtees commented: "Our first podium has been a long time coming but it's a great feeling, especially starting so far down the grid. I think this can be a good springboard for us into the last two races at Brands Hatch. I like the track and if we get the car right, I think we can be very strong again."
For Northern Irishman Loane, round 18 was less favourable as he finished down in 10th position having run in the top five early on. Spinning on lap five, the 20-year-old never fully recovered but his 10th place keeps him in seventh position in the championship.
Armour, meanwhile, recorded another 13th place, albeit a lap down after pitting early on following some contact. After getting his nose cone replaced at the end of lap one, the category rookie rejoined at the back but fought his way back up to fifth place on the road.
Such was the teenager's pace, he was actually catching team-mate Sims in fourth position -- a terrific performance every way you look at it. Armour is now 16th in the championship, breaking the 100 points barrier this weekend.
Rounds 19 and 20 of the Formula Renault UK Championship, the final two races of the 2008 season, will take place three weeks from now, 20th/21st September, at Brands Hatch Indy Circuit in Kent.