Sims Up To Third In Championship

 AFTER CROFT PODIUMFormula Renault UK Championship title contender Alexander Sims has climbed to third position in the 2008 driver standings after racing to his fourth podium finish of the season during round nine at Croft Circuit in North Yorkshire, Sunday, 1st June.During qualifying on Saturday, the Wansford-based Manor Competition star produced excellent pace and claimed a front-row start for both of the scheduled races. Lapping with a time of 1m 17.664 seconds (98.49mph) during the round nine session, the 20-year-old was second quickest again in round 10 qualifying with a time of 1m 17.149 seconds (99.15mph).Well placed to challenge for victory in both Croft races, it became apparent midway through Sunday afternoon only one of the timetabled Formula Renault UK events would be staged due to enforced delays caused by bad weather. As it currently stands, no definitive decision has been taken over when round 10 will be rescheduled.At the start of round nine, which took place on a drying track, Alexander got away very well from the grid and pressured pole-sitter, and series leader, Adam Christodoulou through the first corner at Clervaux and again as the cars headed to Tower Bend.Although Christodoulou made a small mistake at Tower, it wasn’t enough to open the door sufficiently for Alexander to make a clean attempt at a pass and so the Manor ace tucked back in to second position.Following a two-lap Safety Car period, due to two cars off into the gravel at Clervaux on the opening tour, the race resumed on lap four and Alexander made a terrific re-start to tail Christodoulou through the first corner. Although pressuring the race leader for the entire duration of the 15 lap encounter, the MSA British Race Elite member couldn’t quite find a way through and crossed the line just half a second shy of his rival. His fourth podium of the campaign, the result also sees Alexander move ahead of Adriano Buzaid in the 2008 championship standings.Reflecting on round nine, Alexander said: “Adam made a mistake on the first lap at Tower so I thought I had a good chance to make a pass but he was able to come across and defend in the middle of the corner so I had nowhere to go and had to settle for second. It was a processional race really.“The track was slippery so you had to keep your wits about you and stay on the dry line which meant overtaking was all but impossible. The car was good, for these conditions a set-up was always going to be a bit of a stab in the dark and I think Tony (Shaw – Manor Competition team boss and race engineer) did a good job there.”Alexander will be back behind the wheel of his Formula Renault UK car just a few days from now, Thursday, 5th June, for official testing at Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit ahead of the sixth race meeting of the season.Away from its regular slot on the HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship package, Formula Renault UK will race at Silverstone on 7th/8th June as support to sister category World Series by Renault.Making its annual visit to Britain, the World Series by Renault event is expected to attract around 150,000 spectators – even more than the record breaking 135,000 crowd which flocked to the corresponding fixture at Donington Park last year.“We tested very well on the full Grand Prix track earlier in the year so I’m feeling pretty confident ahead of next weekend’s races”, said Alexander, “It’s quite a change to have such a quick turn-around between races but we had good pace at Croft this weekend and hopefully we’ll be able to go one step better and claim a win at Silverstone.”Provisional 2008 Formula Renault UK Championship Driver Standings (after Rd9)1st Adam Christodoulou, 240pts; 2nd Riki Christodoulou, 220pts; 3rd Alexander Sims, 189pts