Manor head to Oulton Park

Straight off the back of the team’s first race victory of the 2008 Formula Renault UK season just over a week ago, crack squad Manor Competition heads into the 15th and 16th rounds of the championship at Oulton Park Island Circuit this weekend, 26th/27th July, bidding for similar success.The New Ollerton based outfit, which saw 20-year-old Alexander Sims take its maiden win of the campaign during the rescheduled 10th round of the year at Snetterton Circuit the Saturday before last, has renewed confidence ahead of the Oulton Park event.While Sims also achieved another podium finish during round 14 to move into second place overall in the championship standings, Manor also witnessed very impressive race performances from its three other drivers – Kris Loane, Henry Surtees and Tom Armour.Loane, in particular, raced strongly to seventh and fifth place results during rounds 13 and 14. He also posted the fastest lap on the penultimate tour of the last of the day’s three races to underline his prowess on used tyres.Damage to his front wing in the first of the weekend’s encounters, however, saw the Northern Irishman forced to slip out of contention as the race wore on. His end result of 12th was certainly not indicative of the pace he showed for the majority of the outing.Surtees handled pressure from title contenders Riki Christodoulou and Adriano Buzaid very well indeed during the last of the weekend’s three events to bag a strong top 10 finish. An 11th place result in round 13 was also well deserved but the highlight came during round 10 – an excellent top six one of the 17-year-old’s best results of the year.For car racing rookie Armour, the disappointment of two retirements from the triple-header was tempered by some strong racing as he continues to improve throughout his first year of single-seater action. Finishing in 13th place during the 10th round, the Essex 18-year-old showed promising pace to lap within a second of victorious team-mate Sims.With Oulton Park renowned as a true test of driving ability and skill, hopes are justly high Manor’s quartet of young stars will enjoy strong results at the Cheshire venue. Team boss Tony Shaw said: “We’re feeling pretty buoyed after the Snetterton win and having shown good pace in testing at Oulton, the team is focused on more success.“Although qualifying didn’t go as we had hoped at Snetterton, the race performances of all four drivers were great. Alexander and Kris have a good chance to fight for podiums and hopefully wins at Oulton while Henry and Tom should do well too – we’re really looking forward to it.”Following pre-event testing on Friday, 25th July, qualifying for the 15th and 16th rounds of the season will take place on Saturday, 26th July, at 08.30 and 13.45. Both 15-lap races will be held on Sunday, 27th July, with round 15 expected to start at 12.00 and round 16 timetabled to begin at around 16.50.The second of the two Oulton Park encounters is scheduled to be screened live on Freeview, cable and digital satellite channel ITV4. Please check listings for more details.Provisional 2008 Formula Renault UK Championship Driver Standings (after Rd14):2nd Alexander Sims, 309pts; 7th Kris Loane, 212pts; 13th Henry Surtees, 117pts; 18th Tom Armour, 73pts

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