cDONALD PRODUCES BEST RUN OF PRE-SEASON AT OULTON PARK
David McDonald produced his best performance of the 2009 Formula Renault UK pre-season at the challenging Oulton Park Island Circuit in Cheshire yesterday, Wednesday, 18th March, during the championship’s latest official test outing.
The Manor Competition driver, who makes his return to competitive action this year after an enforced sojourn in 2008 due to a budget shortfall, ended the single day test run at the 2.2-mile track an impressive seventh quickest overall with a best lap of 1m 18.730 seconds (101.78mph).
Posting his fastest time during the afternoon, McDonald was actually sixth quickest in that particular session and less than half a second shy of the outright pace even though he was running with old tyres. Coming into his own at the demanding track, the Ewell youngster was also strong during the morning session with a top 10 time of 1m 19.237 seconds (101.13mph).
Team-mates Thomas Hylkema and Alice Powell ended the test ninth overall and 12th overall respectively with less than three 10ths of a second separating the pair.
Dutchman Hylkema ended the morning as the lead Manor competitor with the seventh best time of 1m 18.951 seconds (101.50mph), his fastest of the day, before an unfortunate accident later in the opening session caused damage to his car. During the afternoon, a lap of 1m 19.108 seconds (101.29mph) placed him in the top 10 once again, one spot ahead of Powell.
The Oxfordshire-based lady racer, at 16-years-of-age the youngest driver in Formula Renault UK this year, lapped with a best time of 1m 19.262 seconds (101.10mph) in the afternoon to just miss out on the coveted top 10.
On combined times for Wednesday’s two sessions, Powell was the fourth fastest of the drivers eligible for the Graduate Cup, an outstanding performance and especially so considering she used very old tyres all day and didn’t take any fresh sets.
Manor team boss Tony Shaw said: “David had a very good day indeed and his best lap was achieved on old tyres so makes his pace even more impressive. Neither he nor Alice used new tyres and were still both very strong. It was great to see David enjoying his driving, he progressed well. The same can be said for Alice too, we’re delighted with both of them.
“We were very happy with Thomas’ pace and it was just a shame he had the accident later in the morning session as things were going well. The team is continuing to move forward with all three drivers and we’re focused on producing a strong showing during the last pre-season test next week.”
The fifth and final official test of the Formula Renault UK pre-season will take place at Silverstone in Northamptonshire next week. On Tuesday, 24th March, drivers and teams will be in action on the short National Circuit which will host rounds 15 and 16 of the championship.
Silverstone’s full Grand Prix configuration will be utilised for the second day of testing on Wednesday, 25th March, the venue for the 11th and 12th rounds of the 2009 season when Formula Renault UK supports the British round of the World Series by Renault.