Manor Competition enjoyed a strong conclusion to the 2011 Protyre Formula Renault UK Finals Series at Rockingham with both their rookie racers Nick McBride and Hector Hurst impressing, in particular Australian McBride who narrowly avoided a maiden podium finish.
In only his second weekend of Formula Renault action, 20 year old McBride was the quickest of Manor's two drivers in qualifying, taking eighth on the grid for both races, while Formula Renault BARC graduate Hurst would start twelfth and fourteenth. Their Snetterton team-mate and Manor regular Jordan King would not compete over the weekend, instead electing to focus on European testing.
McBride, from Melbourne, comfortably held eighth early on, but after an early safety car period, he started to come under pressure from team-mate Hurst. He gained a place on lap seven when rival Josh Webster out-braked himself ahead, but Hurst lost out when Webster returned to the track ahead of him. McBride looked to challenge for a top six finish late on, but eventually lost out a place to end up eighth, with Hurst also losing a spot late on to finish tenth.
The final race of the championship saw McBride make a sensational start from eighth to dive into the top four. Hurst's start couldn't have been more different, the Hampshire-based racer stalling on the line, dropping him to eighteenth position. While McBride held fourth and looked to challenge for a podium, Hurst mounted a superb recovery drive, benefitting from multiple safety car periods to end up in ninth place, with McBride finishing fourth. In the final championship standings, McBride ends seventh in the points with Hurst 11th and King 12th.
Manor team co-owner Sarah Shaw said: “We've been really happy with the progress Nick and Hector have made over the last two weekends, it's not easy to come into Formula Renault UK against such an experienced and competitive field and be quick but they both managed it.”
“Nick was really close to the podium in the second race and Hector raced well to get another couple of top 10s. We're definitely happy with the level of performance they've shown. This has been a tough year on the whole for the team but we aim to bounce back stronger than ever in 2012.”