SIMS CELEBRATES SEASON'S FIRST WIN AT SNETTERTON Alexander Sims (Peterborough) scored his first Formula Renault UK with Michelin Championship win of 2008 in round 10 at Snetterton. The race was originally due to be run at Croft but bad...
SIMS CELEBRATES SEASON'S FIRST WIN AT SNETTERTON
Alexander Sims (Peterborough) scored his first Formula Renault UK with Michelin Championship win of 2008 in round 10 at Snetterton. The race was originally due to be run at Croft but bad weather forced a postponement to the Norfolk venue, where the Manor Competition title challenger won from second on the grid. Fortec Motorsport's pole-sitter Riki Christodoulou (Sutton Coldfield) was third, having been passed by Alpine Motorsport's Dean Stoneman (Southampton) on lap four after a Safety Car restart.
The opening lap proved disastrous for CR Scuderia Formula Renault's championship leader Adam Christodoulou (Lichfield) as his race ended in the tyre wall at the first corner. Running side by side with Fortec's Adriano Buzaid (Oxford) after starting together on row two, Christodoulou moved across too early to take the corner at Riches and clipped the Brazilian's front wing dropping him to 10th.
Sims had made a cleaner start than Riki Christodoulou and took the lead into the first corner. Stoneman took advantage of the drama ahead of him to take third ahead of local driver Jordan Oakes (Hopton) of Eurotek Motorsport. Oakes had his chance of a good result spoiled by a Drive Through Penalty for a false start, along with Apotex Scorpio Motorsport's Josh Scott (Loughborough) who had been 13th.
The Safety Car was brought out while Adam Christodoulou's car was recovered and when racing resumed on lap four, Stoneman immediately passed Riki Christodoulou with a bold move around the outside at Riches. Christodoulou tried to fight back down the Revett Straight but ran wide through the Esses and came under pressure from Oakes.
On the same lap, Manor's Henry Surtees (Lingfield) passed Fortec's Oli Webb (Knutsford) for seventh, although Webb re-took the place two laps later. At the same time, CR Scuderia's Scott Jenkins (Bristol) passed Buzaid for 10th but like his team-mate Webb the Brazilian soon regained the position. At the head of the field, Stoneman immediately set about catching Sims, who responded with a personal best lap on lap seven.
Oakes served his penalty on lap eight and Jenkins then passed Buzaid for a second time, now for ninth place before closing the gap to eighth-placed Rossi (Blackburn) as the extended 18-lap race entered its second half. By lap 10, Stoneman was only a few car lengths behind Sims with Christodoulou comfortably in third ahead of Loane.
Within two laps Stoneman had caught the leader and wasted no time in attempting a pass at Riches, this time up the inside, but was forced to back out. This lost him time and gave Sims a valuable cushion of almost one second as they crossed the line to start lap 14. By now, Jenkins had reeled in Worswick Engineering's Rossi but the former Formula Renault BARC Championship race-winner refused to crack under the pressure.
Christodoulou set his personal best lap time on lap 13 as he tried to claim the two bonus points available for the NGK fastest lap, but that belonged to Stoneman with his mark of 1min 05.023s (108.07mph) from lap 10. In fifth and sixth places, Fortec team-mates James Calado (Cropthorne) and Oli Webb were catching Loane, who was struggling with a damaged front wing after contact early in the race. They both passed on lap 16 at Russell chicane, before Loane dropped three places on each of the final two laps to eventually come home in 12th.
There were no such problems for his team-mate Sims as he maintained a gap of less than half a second to the chequered flag to take his first win of the season and a second of his Formula Renault UK career. He remains fourth in the drivers' standings, now just 47 points behind Adam Christodoulou. Stoneman took his third podium of the year, while for Riki Christodoulou it was a seventh taste of champagne in 2008.
Commenting on the race, Alexander Sims said: "I got a great start to take the lead and after that it was a case of not making any mistakes. I never really felt under pressure and although Dean had one lunge I knew he was too far back to make it through. My self-belief has never faltered but it's a great boost for the Manor team to get a win and hopefully there's more to come."
Second-placed Stoneman said: "When Adam and Adriano touched I just drove round the outside of them. At the restart I just went for it round the outside of Riki and then caught Alexander. I was too impatient really and should have waited a bit for my chance but second is still a good result."
Third-placed Riki Christodoulou, who started from pole, said: "I'm quite disappointed really. I got a bad start, which I sort of expected because it happened to the pole-sitter here last year as well. I felt as quick as Dean through the corners but he was a lot faster in a straight line and was able to get by me surprisingly easily at the restart so there's something to work on there. At least I'm a little closer to Adam in the overall standings."
Rounds 13 and 14 of the Formula Renault UK Championship take place on Sunday, 13th July at Snetterton. The first race is scheduled to start at 09.40 with the second at 15.35, both races of 18 laps.