Just Five Hundredths Of A Second ...

SPLIT SIMS FROM POLEAlexander Sims just missed out on securing New Ollerton based Manor Competition’s second pole position start of the 2008 Formula Renault UK season by the smallest of margins yesterday, Saturday, 30th August, during qualifying for the 18th round of the season at Silverstone National Circuit.With just 0.055 seconds splitting the MSA British Race Elite driver from the top spot on the grid for the second of Sunday’s two races, everything will be to play for tomorrow as he bids to keep his championship hopes alive into the final event of the season three weeks from now at Brands Hatch Indy Circuit in Kent.Qualifying for round 18 with a time of 54.941 seconds (107.39mph), Sims outpaced Manor team-mate Kris Loane by just a 10th of a second with the Northern Irishman recording the sixth quickest time following a lap of 55.067 seconds (107.14mph).Henry Surtees will start round 18 from 15th on the grid, even though his lap of 55.385 seconds (106.53mph) was less than half a second shy of pole position, while Tom Armour will begin the weekend’s second race from 18th position after posting a time of 55.662 seconds (106.00mph).During the cooler round 17 session this morning at Silverstone, Sims’ time of 54.298 seconds (108.66mph) placed him on the third row of the grid in sixth place for the first of Sunday’s races with Loane four positions further back in 10th – his best effort a lap of 54.453 seconds (108.35mph).Armour did very well to out-qualify team-mate Surtees, the Manor pairing 16th and 18th fastest respectively with times of 54.691 seconds (107.88mph) and 54.795 seconds (107.68mph).“We’re a bit disappointed not to have been on the front row for at least one race but it’s a mark of how close everyone is on the National Circuit that we just missed pole by only five 100ths of a second”, said Manor Competition team owner Tony Shaw, “We’re not sure what the weather will do tomorrow but we’re hopeful of a strong showing.”Loane was in stunning form during yesterday’s official pre-race test, heading the times in both 45-minute sessions. Lapping the 1.64-mile track in 54.649 seconds (107.96mph) during session one, he improved to 54.504 seconds (108.25mph) in session two.On an excellent day for Manor Competition, Sims ended up fourth fastest overall, a mere 0.067 seconds shy of Loane’s timesheet topping best, with Armour obliterating his previous efforts this season with an outstanding ninth quickest time overall – less than four 10ths of a second shy of Loane. Surtees was 12th, within half a second of Loane.Round 17 of the 2008 Formula Renault UK Championship will begin at 09.30 this morning, Sunday, 31st August, with round 18 – which is set to be screened live on cable, digital satellite and Freeview channel ITV4 – getting underway at 15.15.Provisional 2008 Formula Renault UK Championship Driver Standings (after Rd16 inc. drop scores):2nd Alexander Sims, 340pts; 7th Kris Loane, 227pts; 13th Henry Surtees, 149pts; 16th Tom Armour, 86pts

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