Manor Enjoys Promising ...

TWO-DAY SNETTERTON TESTFront-running Formula Renault UK Championship squad Manor Competition enjoyed two successful days of official testing at Snetterton Circuit in Norfolk this week with MSA British Race Elite star Alexander Sims emerging as the fastest of the team’s drivers.The 20-year-old was one of just four racers to lap under the 1m 05 second barrier yesterday, Thursday, 3rd July, during the fourth and final session of day two with a best lap of 1m 04.866 seconds (108.33mph) for the New Ollerton outfit.Northern Ireland’s Kris Loane was just three 10ths of a second shy of Sims’ best in session four with a lap of 1m 05.174 seconds (107.82mph) placing him seventh overall on Thursday’s combined times. Impressively, the 20-year-old’s quickest lap was just four 10ths of a second shy of the outright pace even though he ran on old tyres.Sims was also the quickest Manor driver in the first and third sessions of the second day, lapping inside the top three both times, while Loane took team honours in session two with the fifth fastest time of 1m 05.636 seconds (107.06mph).For Henry Surtees, the second day brought improvements of approximately eight 10ths of a second as he produced a best effort of 1m 05.385 seconds (107.47mph) during session four to go 10th fastest. He ended the day 12th overall on combined times.Tom Armour, the least experienced of Manor’s quartet, also improved by around nine 10ths of a second between the two days, his quickest lap of 1m 05.753 seconds (106.87mph) also coming during the final session.On the opening day of the test, Wednesday, 2nd July, Sims and Loane were both very evenly matched throughout with Sims initially holding the advantage during the morning with a lap of 1m 05.380 seconds (107.48mph) placing him second fastest, just eight 100ths of a second outside the top of the timesheets.In the afternoon, Loane hit back and produced a lap of 1m 05.370 seconds (107.49mph) to go second fastest in the session and, importantly, second quickest on combined times for the day – edging Sims back to third fastest overall with his morning’s best.The parity between the two was remarkable. During session one, Loane lapped with the 10th best time of 1m 05.724 seconds (106.91mph) while in the second session Sims was the 10th quickest driver with a near identical time of 1m 05.725 seconds (106.91mph).Surtees produced a consistent performance with a lap of 1m 06.159 seconds (106.21mph) during the morning and a time of 1m 06.169 seconds (106.19mph) in the afternoon. His best placing of 16th position came in the second outing.Armour again showed good consistency, lapping a 10th of a second faster in the afternoon with a time of 1m 06.632 seconds (105.46mph). During the first session of the day he lapped in 1m 06.768 seconds (105.24mph).Speaking after the two day official test run, Manor Competition team boss Tony Shaw said: “It’s been a very productive couple of days for us, we had good pace and we’re pleased with the overall performance of each of our drivers. Alexander was quick throughout, as was Kris whose efforts on old tyres in the final session were fantastic.“Henry and Tom improved well between the two days and worked on some good set-ups ahead of next weekend’s race meeting. Obviously, we’d like to challenge for wins at Snetterton and with three races being contested there are going to be a lot of points up for grabs. Hopefully it should be a good weekend for Manor Competition.”Following a further practice run at Snetterton next Friday, 11th July, Manor’s drivers will return to fully competitive action the following day, Saturday, 12th July, for the round 13 and 14 Formula Renault UK qualifying sessions which will take place at 10.45 and 15.15 respectively.The first race action of the weekend will be the rescheduled 10th round of the season - previously postponed at Croft due to bad weather - which will commence at around 17.40 on Saturday, 12th July. With the Croft qualifying results still valid, Sims will start round 10 from second on the grid, Loane from eighth place, Surtees from 10th position and Armour from 18th. Rounds 13 and 14 will then follow on Sunday, 13th July, at 09.40 and 15.35. The second encounter is also expected to be shown on Freeview, cable and digital satellite channel ITV4 as part of the station’s live afternoon broadcast from Snetterton.Provisional 2008 Formula Renault UK Championship Driver Standings:4th Alexander Sims, 234pts; 6th Kris Loane, 165pts; 14th Henry Surtees, 78pts; 18th Tom Armour, 65pts

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