Surtees Wins For Manor

AT RAIN-LASHED CROFTHenry Surtees achieved his maiden Formula Renault UK race victory to the delight of his Manor Competition team at a rain-lashed Croft Circuit on Saturday, 1st November, during the opening round of the 2008 Winter Championship.The Surrey-based racer, son of legendary motorsport great John Surtees OBE, began the day in the best possible way by taking his first ever category pole position and then went on to enjoy a lights-to-flag win to help put him firmly in contention for the title.Adding a richly deserved second place in round two, a race he once again led from the front row of the grid until losing out to chief rival James Calado at mid-distance, the Lingfield 17-year-old is second overall in the Winter Championship standings ahead of next weekend’s series finale at Rockingham in Northamptonshire.Team-mate Tom Armour, meanwhile, saw his day affected by misfortune having been in stunning form during the sole 20-minute qualifying session. Lining up fourth on the grid for round one and third for round two, the 19-year-old from Billericay in Essex was forced to retire from the opening race but hit back with a top six finish in race two.Like Surtees, Armour produced a career best performance at Croft but it could have been even better had he not been the victim of contact from Portuguese racer Antonio Felix da Costa in the opening encounter.Market Harborough-based Sung Hak Mun, meanwhile, scored a best finish of 14th overall during round one after a stellar outing which saw the South Korean produce good pace. Unfortunately, a spin early on during race two brought his weekend to an early conclusion in very difficult and slippery conditions.“It’s been a good start to the Winter Championship for us and we’re absolutely delighted for Henry to take his first win, he really deserved it”, commented Manor boss Tony Shaw, “He was under a lot of pressure but he handled it brilliantly, to take another podium in race two capped a fantastic weekend.“Tom was very unlucky not to join Henry on the podium, he had excellent pace and it was only due to the fact he was bashed about in the first race that he was unable to take a top four finish. Sixth in race two was good but he was disappointed, hopefully at Rockingham he’ll be as quick as he was this weekend.”Shaw added: “Qualifying didn’t go as Tom Mun wanted but in the first race he did well to finish 14th. His racing was good and he’s definitely developing quickly as a driver. With more time in the car, he’ll definitely move further up the order. We’re certainly pleased with his progress so far.”Maiden pole start for Surtees as Armour also shows worthDuring Saturday morning’s qualifying, Surtees secured his first ever Formula Renault UK pole position for round one of the winter series with his final lap of the session, a time of 1m 26.684 seconds (88.25mph) almost four 10ths of a second clear of his closest rival.Armour posted the fourth best time of 1m 27.627 seconds (87.30mph), like Surtees a best ever effort at that stage, while Mun was 24th after a difficult run. With each driver’s second best time determining the round two grid, Surtees lined up second fastest with Armour a career best third – although he had posted the second fastest time before having it taken away due to a flag infringement – and Mun an improved 23rd.While Surtees led from pole to win the first Croft race, Armour’s outing was blighted by contact from da Costa. Forced wide by the Portuguese driver on lap one at the hairpin, he then tagged the rear of Armour’s car at the same part of the track on lap four before again pushing him wide on the exit.Further contact occurred and Armour ended up with a seriously damaged front wing which totally compromised the down-force on the car. He was subsequently forced to retire on lap 10 of 16. Mun enjoyed one of his best runs of the year with a solid drive to 14th position and a clutch of valuable championship points.Round two saw Surtees take the lead from second on the grid with a great start on the wet track. On lap seven however, pole-sitter Calado moved ahead and went on to win ahead of the Manor ace.  Lining up third on the grid, Armour slipped to fifth at the start but a good move at Tower Bend saw him go back into fourth. Holding the place until lap eight, Armour then lost a couple of positions before the finish, the last after running wide at Tower on lap 12.Mun’s race lasted less than four laps when he had a spin on entry to the hairpin towards the end of the third tour and he was unable to rejoin the track. Rockingham International Super Sports Car Circuit hosts rounds three and four of the 2008 Formula Renault UK Winter Championship next Saturday, 8th November, with official pre-event testing taking place on Friday, 7th November.Prior to this past Saturday’s action at Croft, it was stated Surtees’ would forego the final two rounds of the Winter Championship at Rockingham next weekend due to pressures relating to his A-Level studies.Following his terrific set of results during the opening two rounds though, it’s highly likely he will now make the trip to Northamptonshire with Manor Competition as he bids to claim his first car racing title.Provisional 2008 Formula Renault UK Winter Championship Standings (after Rd2):2nd Henry Surtees, 60pts; 10th Tom Armour, 20pts; 19th Sung Hak Mun, 7pts

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