As Surtees Achieves Season's Best
Nottinghamshire based Formula Renault UK team Manor Competition stands a terrific chance of challenging for race victory at Donington Park today, Sunday, 4th May, after seeing Alexander Sims qualify on the front row of the grid for the fifth round of the 2008 season.Having secured his first ever win in cars during the corresponding race meeting at Manor’s ‘home’ circuit last year, 20-year-old Sims looks well placed to repeat the result after posting a time of 1m 05.737 seconds (107.18mph) during this morning’s 20-minute round five qualifying session to secure second place on the grid.Team-mate Henry Surtees produced by far his best qualifying performance in Formula Renault UK with an excellent fifth fastest time, a lap of 1m 05.956 seconds (106.83mph), while Northern Ireland’s Kris Loane ended the round five session seventh quickest with a time of 1m 05.984 seconds (106.78mph).Incredibly close at the top of the times, just 0.352 seconds separated Loane – who celebrated his 20th birthday today – from pole position. Tom Armour, meanwhile, continued to make inroads with the 17th best time, 1m 06.764 seconds (105.53mph).During the round six session, the Manor quartet all suffered from traffic but Loane made the best of it with an excellent lap of 1m 06.005 seconds (106.75mph) to go fourth fastest and put himself firmly in the reckoning for a podium finish.Sims, who looked on course for pole position before red flags were shown three quarters of the way through the session following an incident involving a backmarker, had to be satisfied with the sixth quickest time of 1m 06.086 seconds (106.62mph).Surtees couldn’t replicate his earlier performance and ended the session in 12th place with a lap of 1m 06.328 seconds (106.23mph) while Armour was 18th this time after posting a lap of 1m 06.955 seconds (105.23mph).“We’re reasonably happy with the end result from qualifying today”, said Tony Shaw, Manor Competition team boss, “There were some problems with traffic in the second session but it was the same for everyone. We had the pace to be on pole position for both races, no question about that at all, so that is a bit frustrating.“We know we have a good car here and Kris, Henry, Alexander and Tom are driving well so hopefully we’ll have a strong run tomorrow. We’ve got a good chance to challenge for wins and podiums and that’s what we’re planning to do.”Rounds five and six of the 2008 Formula Renault UK Championship will take place at Donington Park today, Sunday, 4th May, with the first race getting underway at 09.10 and the second encounter – which is set to be screened live on Freeview, digital satellite and cable channel ITV4 – expected to commence at 15.50.