LOANE & MORGAN PRODUCE CAREER BEST RESULTS AT SNETTERTON Northern Ireland's Kris Loane and Welsh team-mate Alex Morgan enjoyed respective career-best race performances at Snetterton Circuit in Norfolk yesterday,Sunday, 29th July, during the 13th...
LOANE & MORGAN PRODUCE CAREER BEST RESULTS AT SNETTERTON
Northern Ireland's Kris Loane and Welsh team-mate Alex Morgan enjoyed respective career-best race performances at Snetterton Circuit in Norfolk yesterday,Sunday, 29th July, during the 13th round of the Formula Renault UK season, to the delight of New Ollerton team Manor Competition.
The inexperienced pairing, both working hard to become consistent top six runners, produced good individual qualifying performances on Saturday while team-mate Alexander Sims also starred with a brace of third row starts for the weekend's two races.
Unfortunately, neither of the races had the outcome Sims was hoping for and having seen a potential podium result go astray in Sunday's round 13 following a spin, clutch problems at the beginning of round 14 left the round 11 race-winner with a mountain to climb from the back of the pack, although he did salvage a hard-fought ninth position.
Lining up eighth and 12th on the grid for the first 18-lap encounter, with Sims in fifth place, Loane and Morgan each made decent getaways and as Sims battled with Will Bratt over fourth position during the early exchanges, Loane ran a strong seventh with Morgan 11th ahead of the appearance of the Safety Car on lap three.
Following a lap six re-start, Sims closed on Riki Christodoulou and made a good pass at Coram Curve on the 10th tour while Morgan continued to make more progress, climbing into the top seven with an excellent drive.
Unfortunately the race began to come undone for Manor during the closing stages, Sims spinning at the Esses on lap 17 and Loane pitched off the circuit at the same part of the track following contact from another driver under braking. Red flags were shown due to the incident and so, on count-back, Loane deservingly retained his stunning fifth place.
Morgan was equally impressive in seventh while Sims, having recovered from his spin, came home in 13th position. Worse luck was to follow for the latter though at the start of round 14 when he faced clutch problems on the grid, basically forcing him to stall his car on purpose to avoid jumping the start.
Getting away in last place, Sims mounted a stirring fight-back to eventually finish in a highly creditable ninth position as the filling in a Manor Competition sandwich, Morgan achieving a career-best eighth position and Loane just behind in 10th place having started in 12th and 16th positions respectively.
Morgan and Loane served up some of the most entertaining action of the weekend as part of the five or six car battle over eighth position and when Sims joined the party on lap 10, all three Manor cars showed good racecraft as they duelled fairly for position.
Sims produced a good move at the Esses on lap 12 to make inroads ahead of Loane and on lap 15 their battle allowed Morgan to edge away slightly in eighth place. Three tours later, the trio took the flag line astern with Morgan half a second ahead of Sims who, in turn, shaded Loane by just seven 10ths of a second.
Reflecting on the weekend, Manor's Tony Shaw said: "We're absolutely delighted Kris and Alex have raced so strongly, they both had a couple of good races on Sunday and showed exactly what they're capable of. There's no reason why we shouldn't be able to continue this progress and see them both inside the top 10 in the championship.
"Alexander was on the back foot after missing the second session of the test on Friday but his performance in qualifying was still pretty good. It was a great shame he had the spin in the first race as his pace was good enough for the podium but he came back strongly from the clutch problem at the start of race two."
Shaw added: "When you have all of your cars racing so closely it's always a worry! They each showed great maturity and racecraft though with such an entertaining battle in the second race, each respecting each other and leaving room for good quality racing. It was great to watch."
The weekend's showing sees Sims retain eighth position in the overall championship standings with Morgan just a point adrift of the top 10 in 11th place and Loane moving into 13th position. In the Graduate Cup battle, eligible drivers Sims and Loane are in fourth and sixth places respectively.
Manor Competition will return to race action three weeks from now on 18th/19th August at Brands Hatch Indy Circuit in Kent for the 15th and 16th rounds of the Formula Renault UK season. Before then, the team will take part in an official championship test session at Thruxton Circuit in Hampshire on Wednesday, 8th August.