Despite feeling under the weather in the most recent Formula 3 Euroseries test, ART Grand Prix's British star Alexander Sims still finished a competitive fourth overall.
Along with the illness, Sims also had to overcome a lack of track time at the Spanish circuit in the final official timed test ahead of the 2010 Championship.
Sims, who only graduated into car racing at the tail end of 2006, and who finished at vice-champion to Adam Christodoulou in the 2008 Formula Renault UK Championship ended the 2009 Formula 3 Euroseries as the second highest rookie in the Championship, having taken a maiden win and 5 other podium finishes.
Sims is now entering his second season and is rightly being considered a title favourite, as he won the 2008 McLaren Autosport BRDC Winner, as well as being one of the lucky 13 drivers to be on the BRDC (British Racing Drivers Club) Superstars programme. Sims is also one of the members of the Team UK initiative, an invitation only programme.
The latest 2 day outfit for Sims was a difficult one. He missed the whole of the opening session due to illness, however a time that was only 0.3s off the fastest time of the afternoon session lifted spirits. Sims best time around the Valencia track during the afternoon was a 1m29.256s.
The following day saw Sims post his best time of the 2 day test, setting a 1m28.297s, a time which got him within 0.2s of the outright pace. However, he lost out on valuable track time during the afternoon as the team had to replace his gearbox, which was achieved.
Speaking after the two day test, the Cambridgeshire based youngster said: “I had hoped to be quickest at Valencia but considering I only had half a day of running each day of the test, I think we did a good job, I'm working well with the team and understanding more and more how to get the most out of the ART car. To end this week's test fourth overall is a pleasing result considering the problems we've faced.”
“On Monday morning I wasn't able to test at all as I had a very bad stomach complaint but in the afternoon I was able to get out on track and post some reasonable times. The second morning was the fastest session and finishing fourth wasn't too bad at all. Unfortunately we then had the gearbox problem which meant we had very limited time in the afternoon. All in all though, it's been positive.”
Prior to the Valencia test, Sims had been testing at Barcelona and set the third best time over the 2 day test, setting a best lap time of 1m39.226s.
Sims will open his F3 Euroseries campaign at the Paul Ricard HTTT, in Le Castellet, France over the weekend of 10th/11th April. The 2010 F3 Euroseries Championship is hosted over 18 races, in support to the German touring car series, the DTM. The Championship finishes at Hockenheim on the 16th/17th October.
Photo credit: Jeroen Vermeeren/Insight F1 Motorsport Report