Powell Climbs Standings At Challenging Silverstone GP

Formula Renault UK 2.0 Championship racer Alice Powell starred for the Manor Competition team at Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit on Sunday, 21st August, with two strong race performances - the highlight being a superb drive into the top six from 12th on the grid during the opening encounter.Forming part of the annual 'World Series by Renault' festival at the Northamptonshire venue, the 13th and 14th rounds of the season did prove to be challenging for the New Ollerton-based team with a series of unfortunate issues hampering the squad's progress.Powell though, the 2010 Protyre Formula Renault BARC Champion, overcame a disappointing run in both qualifying sessions to post two impressively strong race finishes and, in doing so, climbed into the championship top seven by a single point ahead of team-mate Jordan King.Josh Hill continues to be Manor's highest placed driver in the standings in fifth position but he endured a nightmare of an event at the home of the British Grand Prix. Problems with the pit-speed limiter erroneously engaging in race one ruined any hope of a decent finish as it dropped him to the tail of the field while, in race two, a puncture resulted in a pit-stop and another spoiled outing.Qualifying on Saturday, 20th August, didn't go as the team had hoped with King the best placed Manor runner in seventh on the grid for race one while Hill was ninth and Powell 12th. Their second best times, forming the grid for race two, meant King led the way with the sixth best lap while Hill was ninth again and Powell 11th fastest.Round 13 kicked-off the day's proceedings on Sunday and racing had hardly got underway before Hill's hopes were wrecked with the pit-limiter issue. Forced to fight back from the tail of the field, Hill lapped with podium pace to overturn a near 20 second deficit to the next car which he managed to do. On the final lap, he gained another spot to salvage 10th place.Powell enjoyed a sensational start and opening lap to climb into eighth, from 12th on the grid, and she then profited from a tussle between team-mate King and his name-sake Oscar as they battled over sixth position. Jordan's cause wasn't assisted by the loss of a wing mirror and he slipped to eighth on lap three where he remained to the flag. Powell, meanwhile, managed to fend off both Kings to take sixth place overall and second in the Graduate Cup.In round 14 Powell was again the top Manor finisher, this time in eighth position, having once more made up good ground early on from 11th on the grid. King made the initial running for the team and on lap one he got involved with a fight over fourth place before being bundled down the order to ninth position.From that point on, King and Powell ran in close quarters and the duo closed right up to the fight over fifth place at mid-distance with fractions of a second separating fifth to ninth position. In the end though, their order didn't alter with Powell taking eighth and King ninth.Contact to the right-rear wheel of Hill's car in the first sector of lap one led to a puncture and enforced pit-stop, a bitterly disappointing blow again for the first-year Formula Renault racer. When he rejoined the track though, he proved what might have been possible by matching the pace of the podium challengers."Obviously the weekend wasn't what we'd hoped for but we had some bad luck again, especially Josh, but he showed the pace he's capable of", said Manor Competition team co-owner Sarah Shaw, "Jordan too had his own share of problems but if we'd have got qualifying right it would have been a different story I'm sure, we know the pace they can produce."Looking at the positives, Alice did a great job in both races to come through from low grid slots and in the first one in particular everything went well for her. We wanted a podium at the very least this weekend but we're remaining focused as we look ahead to the next rounds in a few weeks."Rockingham, near Corby in the East Midlands, will host the next race meeting of the 2011 Formula Renault 2.0 UK Championship over the weekend 17th/18th September.Provisional 2011 Formula Renault 2.0 UK Championship Driver Standings (after Rd14):5th Josh Hill, 205pts; 7th Alice Powell, 177pts; 8th Jordan King, 176pts; 11th Ollie Millroy, 152pts