SIMS STARS ON COMPETITIVE FORMULA RENAULT UK DEBUT Peterborough-based racing sensation Alexander Sims excelled on his competitive single-seater debut at Brands Hatch Indy Circuit on Sunday during the opening meeting of the 2006 Formula Renault...
SIMS STARS ON COMPETITIVE FORMULA RENAULT UK DEBUT
Peterborough-based racing sensation Alexander Sims excelled on his competitive single-seater debut at Brands Hatch Indy Circuit on Sunday during the opening meeting of the 2006 Formula Renault UK Winter Championship.
Driving for multiple-championship winning team Manor Motorsport, the 18-year-old started his car racing career strongly during Saturday's 20-minute qualifying session after posting the fifth fastest time with a lap of 44.344 seconds (97.33mph), a mere two 10ths of a second shy of pole position.
An outstanding performance during only his first Formula Renault UK qualifying period, the Cambridgeshire star went on to secure 10th on the grid for round two with his second quickest lap time.
While an unfortunate retirement on lap six of Sunday morning's opening race cost Alexander a potential top-six finish in his maiden outing, he more than made up for the disappointment during round two with a confident and mature drive to climb from 10th on the grid to an excellent fifth place at the chequered flag.
One of just a handful of Formula Renault UK drivers throughout the course of the weekend to produce any genuine overtaking manoeuvres, the Manor sensation carved his way through to seventh position on the opening lap of race two after a terrific start.
Maintaining his rightful place among the front-runners during the early stages, on lap nine Alexander moved into the top six when reigning Formula Renault BARC Champion Richard Singleton pulled into the pits.
Gladly accepting the place, Alexander most certainly didn't rest on his laurels and soon began to lap just three 10ths of a second slower than pace-setting team-mate, and eventual race winner, Franck Mailleux.
Alexander's scintillating speed allowed him to get fully on terms with experienced car racer Carl Skerlong and on lap 12 he made his move on the American to snatch fifth place, the top four just eluding Alexander by two 10ths of a second at the chequered flag on lap 18.
Although finishing the race in fifth position, Alexander benefits from two extra points in the championship standings due to fourth-placed Austrian driver Martin Ragginger being ineligible to score points due to the fact he doesn't have a UK racing licence.
Therefore, the Peterborough star heads to Croft Circuit in North Yorkshire later this week for the decisive third and fourth rounds of the winter series in joint eighth position in the championship. Furthermore, Alexander's fastest race lap of 45.012 seconds during round two was the third quickest overall, a terrific achievement.
Speaking on his single-seater debut, Alexander commented: "I changed my approach to Paddock Hill Bend for the second race which helped a lot, but having already had the experience of the first race I wasn't so nervous heading into race two and that certainly made a difference.
"Our race pace was good and I think the weekend as a whole has been very good, to come from 10th on the grid to fifth place in race two was very satisfying. I'm looking forward to Croft now and confident we'll be able to go well."
With a glittering karting career behind him, including championship success in British Formula JICA and the CIK/FIA Monaco Kart Cup, Alexander's graduation to car racing in the world-renowned Formula Renault UK series has started incredibly well, thoroughly pleasing Manor team manager Tony Shaw.
"I'm absolutely delighted with Alexander's performances this weekend, he's driven superbly and shown fantastic pace", said Shaw, "We were very impressed when we first tested Alexander and his qualifying display on Saturday underlined what we knew all along, he's a very quick, talented young driver.
"To finish fifth in only his second race is a superb achievement. Obviously Alexander has a tremendous pedigree from karting and this weekend's performances show he has what it takes to enjoy a very successful career in cars."
Rounds three and four of the 2006 Formula Renault UK Winter Championship take place at Croft Circuit in North Yorkshire this coming Saturday, 11th November. Pre-event testing will be held on Thursday, 9th November.