Two superb drives by Alice Powell gave New Ollerton-based Manor Competition something to cheer about during a challenging Rounds Thirteen and Fourteen of the 2011 CERTINA Formula Renault 2.0 UK Championship, the front-running outfit suffering a series of unfortunate problems, particularly to their highest placed driver in the standings Josh Hill.
Competing as part of the annual 'World Series by Renault' festival at the Northamptonshire venue, the weekend didn't start as the team had hoped in Saturday's qualifying. Jordan King, almost a race winner last time out at Snetterton, led the way in seventh for race one, with Hill ninth and Powell twelfth, while they lined up sixth, ninth and eleventh for race two respectively.
The opening race on Sunday morning started disastrously for Manor, with Hill's pit-speed limiter engaging early on, dropping him right to the tail of the field. He did manage to claw back a near twenty second gap to the next car though and passed them and another to salvage tenth place.
Powell meanwhile enjoyed a sensational start and climbed four place on the opening lap, before benefitting from a tussle between team-mate King and a rival to snatch a sixth place finish, with King losing time to a lost wing mirror soon after and slipping to eighth.
Round Fourteen saw Powell, the reigning Protyre Formula Renault BARC Champion, once again the lead Manor finisher, working her way up from eleventh to eighth. King meanwhile was fighting for fourth early on, before being bundled down to ninth place, while Hill's luck was out once again, contact on lap one forcing him to pit with a puncture, dropping him to a lowly twelfth.
Manor Competition team co-owner Sarah Shaw commented: “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. 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.”