AS SURTEES IS FASTEST AT CROFTManor Competition made a perfect start to the opening weekend of the 2008 Formula Renault UK Winter Championship at Croft in North Yorkshire yesterday, Friday, 31st October, with Henry Surtees posting the fastest time of all during official pre-event testing.The 17-year-old, who spearheads the New Ollerton squad’s three-car attack on this year’s four-round Winter Championship, was in fantastic form all day in the wet conditions, as was team-mate Tom Armour who concluded the track action with an excellent third fastest time.Having been fourth fastest during session one and then second quickest in session two, Surtees went on to set a time of 1m 24.345 seconds (90.70mph) at the end of the day to put Manor Competition on top – half a second clear of anyone else.For 19-year-old Armour, today’s testing saw him produce the best performance of his short car racing career. Seventh quickest at the end of the opening 55-minute period, the Essex youngster improved to fourth fastest in session two and then set the third fastest time of the day, 1m 24.964 seconds (90.03mph), during his final run.Manor’s third driver, team newcomer Sung Hak Mun (or Tom Mun as he is more widely known), was equally inspired today. Clearly relishing working with Tony Shaw’s Nottinghamshire squad, the 18-year-old South Korean was 15th fastest overall with a time of 1m 26.328 seconds (88.61mph) – a great effort against some tough competition.“It’s been a very good day for the whole team”, commented team boss Shaw, “Both Henry and Tom were absolutely fantastic all day, they did a brilliant job and had a lot of confidence in their cars in the wet conditions. They learnt a lot in the main championship this year and that experience showed today.“Tom Mun is learning a huge amount every time he’s in the car and between the start of the day and the final session he more than halved his gap to the quickest drivers. It’s all going very well and I think there’s a lot more to come from him, he’s building up very nicely and is showing a lot of improvement.”Shaw added: “We could have actually ended the day first and second with Henry and Tom (Armour) which would have been very nice but they had traffic on their final laps as the circuit was very busy. It’s a great start to the weekend for us though and we’re very much looking forward to tomorrow’s action.”Surtees and Armour, of course, both raced for Manor Competition in this year’s full Formula Renault UK Championship with Surtees ending the campaign 12th overall in the driver standings and Armour in 16th position – each driver’s maiden season of Formula Renault action.Sung Hak Mun, meanwhile, contested 16 of the 20 races in the main championship and ended the year 21st overall. Prior to this, he competed in the club-level Formula Renault BARC series in the headline FR2000 Class where he became a podium finisher.
Looking ahead to tomorrow’s opening two rounds of the 2008 Formula Renault UK Winter Championship, qualifying will begin at 09.30, Saturday, 1st November, with race one starting at 11.10 and race two scheduled to follow at 13.45.