Weekend Of Consolidation For Manor
New Ollerton based Manor Competition enjoyed podium success over the weekend, 12th/13th April, at Rockingham International Super Sports Car Circuit during the third round of the 2008 Formula Renault UK Championship.The first of the event’s races saw 20-year-old Alexander Sims make a great start from the third row of the grid and after passing Manor team-mate Kris Loane for fourth on the inside of Turn One, he then made his way past Adriano Buzaid at Deene Hairpin.Remaining in third place to the chequered flag on lap 16, Sims took his first podium of the campaign to the delight of the team. Northern Irishman Loane, meanwhile, finished round three in sixth position and impressively posted the second fastest race lap with a time of 1m 16.778 seconds. He had to concentrate hard on defending his place from the attacking Riki Christodoulou during the closing stages and managed to stay ahead by six 10ths of a second.Graduate Cup runners Henry Surtees and Tom Armour both made up ground on their grid positions, 17-year-old Surtees claiming his first overall top 10 finish of the season, having defended well from Scott Jenkins, while single-seater rookie Armour was 16th after a successful battle with the vastly more experienced Jordan Oakes.Sunday’s fourth round, which was broadcast live on ITV4, saw 19-year-old Loane secure his second top six result of the weekend while Sims finished in fourth place having seen an early challenge for third fail to bear fruit.Surtees enjoyed another strong top 10 run in ninth position, having been in eighth place for the majority of the race, while 18-year-old Armour – in only his fourth ever Formula Renault UK race – secured a career best finish of 14th as he continues to improve with every outing in Manor colours.Commenting on the Rockingham action, Manor team boss Tony Shaw said: “It’s been quite a frustrating weekend as we didn’t manage to get qualifying right and that set the scene for both races. Alexander did a good job to bag his first podium of the year and Kris scored two solid top sixes which haven’t done his championship position any harm.“Henry had his best ever weekend results-wise, he’s certainly starting to show more of the form we saw during the pre-season. Tom is still at the start of a big learning curve but he improved throughout the weekend so we’re pleased with his progress.”Even though the Rockingham race meeting didn’t quite live up to what the team had hoped for, all four drivers have climbed the Formula Renault UK standings with Sims up to fourth, Loane in sixth, Surtees in 12th and new-signing Armour in 19th position. In addition, Manor is third in the 2008 entrant standings.Rounds five and six of the Formula Renault UK Championship will take place three weeks from now on 3rd/4th May at Donington Park National Circuit in Leicestershire, the team’s most local race track.Before then though, Manor Competition will return to action at Croft Circuit in North Yorkshire on Tuesday, 22nd April, and Wednesday, 23rd April, for two days of official championship testing.