Alexander Sims produced a scintillating performance at Donington Park National Circuit Sunday, 4th May, during the sixth round of the Formula Renault UK Championship – the Manor Competition star rising from sixth on the grid to achieve his second podium finish of the season.Bouncing back very strongly from the disappointment of ninth position during the earlier fifth round of the campaign, the 20-year-old from Wansford, near Peterborough, lapped with stunning consistency and speed in the sixth round – televised live on ITV4 – to secure a fantastic third place result and to remain firmly in the top four of the title race.Notable for his blinding pace, Alexander strung together a run of half a dozen laps where he set the fastest time again and again without reply from any of his rivals. He actually went on to end the race with two bonus points after seeing his lap 10 best of 1m 06.680 seconds (106.67mph) go unbeaten.“We hoped for a better weekend, after testing we had reason to be very confident and we should have taken at least two podiums away with us”, said Alexander, “Donington has always been very good to me and after testing we were very strong. That said, I’m happy with the round six performance and confident we can challenge for the title.“Unfortunately, we were unlucky in qualifying for the first race when I had a yellow flag in the last sector and that cost me a couple of 10ths of a second which would have put me on pole. In second qualifying, I got caught up in traffic and that dropped us to sixth.”He added: “I’m hoping sooner rather than later we’ll have the consistency we know we’re capable of and begin to dominate the way we were during the pre-season tests. We’re fourth in the championship after this weekend’s races though and not that far away from the guys ahead. For the next event at Thruxton, I’m confident we can be strong.” The MSA British Race Elite programme member headed into the second of the weekend's races on the third row of the grid, his qualifying performance on Saturday dealt a blow when stuck behind traffic during the optimum laps for his tyres.Getting away from the grid nicely, Alexander ended up on the outside of the turn for Redgate Corner but came through unscathed in fifth position into the Old Hairpin where he latched on to the rear of Ryuji Yamamoto’s car.Piling on the pressure on the run through Schwantz Curve and McLeans, Alexander then took fourth position at Coppice with a superb piece of driving. The next target was Manor team-mate Kris Loane and on lap two, Alexander continued his progression by easily dispatching the Northern Irishman for third place.Reeling off a string of fastest race laps, the Cambridgeshire ace continued to close on the two cars ahead and also extended his advantage over Loane. In the end, he ran out of laps to be able to do anything about the two race leaders but third place – just over a second shy of the victory – was a very impressive result.
First lap tangle costs Sims potential winHaving qualified on the front row of the grid for round five, missing out on an almost guaranteed pole position by just a 10th of a second when he had to lift off the throttle on his last flying lap due to cautionary yellow flags being shown on circuit, Alexander hoped to be able to replicate his 2007 Donington Park performance with race victory.Unfortunately, things didn’t turn out that smoothly for the multiple karting champion and he ended the race in ninth position after a character-building drive.Making a good start, Alexander pulled alongside pole-sitter Adriano Buzaid on the run to Redgate Corner and as the pair turned into the right-hander side-by-side, contact forced the Manor ace over the kerbs and onto the dirt, resulting in a spin.Dropping outside the top 10, a major recovery drive was needed and by lap four Alexander had moved into ninth position as he started to make quick progress to help limit the damage to his championship placing. Setting the fastest race lap at that point on the fourth tour – and with it a new lap record – he moved into the top eight and then rapidly into seventh place at the expense of Joshua Scott following a terrific move at McLeans Corner.As the fastest driver on track, Alexander looked set to make even greater inroads but a spin at McLeans late in the race saw him drop to ninth position where he remained to the chequered flag. Nonetheless, the 12 points he achieved in the race could be crucial at the end of the long, 20-round championship.The fastest circuit on the Formula Renault UK Championship calendar, Thruxton in Hampshire, will provide the next challenge for Alexander two weeks from now, 17th/18th May, for the seventh and eighth rounds of the 2008 season.Provisional 2008 Formula Renault UK Championship Driver Standings (after Rd6)1st Adam Christodoulou, 169pts; 2nd Adriano Buzaid, 139pts; 4th Alexander Sims, 120pts