Thruxton ended up as a weekend of what could have been for Manor Competition, as all four of its drivers, Alice Powell, Jordan King, Josh Hill and Ollie Millroy, all missed out on potential finishes in Rounds Five and Six of the 2011 Formula Renault 2.0 UK Championship.
The weekends first qualifying session saw King post a superb time to himself second, just 0.061 seconds off a maiden pole position. Powell set the fifth fastest time, with Millroy and Hill sharing the fourth row. Qualifying two was Powell's turn to shine, putting herself on the front row with the second fastest time, with King fifth, Millroy sixth and Hill ninth.
Round five saw Graduate Cup runner King looking for the best run of his rookie season, but contact on the first lap caused the teenager to spin, dropping him to an eventual finish of tenth. This moved Powell into the top three and Hill to fourth, but a misjudgement when braking for the chicane on lap five saw Hill run into the back of her, forcing the reigning Formula Renault BARC Champion to retire.
Hill had to pit for a nose cone and front wing, before returning to circuit and finishing in eleventh position. The contact allowed Millroy to take the third place and he looked set for a first podium of the season, until a last lap move from Oliver Rowland demoted him to a fourth place finish.
Round six brought more bad luck for Powell. She got a good start, but was punted in the rear on the opening lap at the complex, once again forcing her to retire. King came through the chaos to take third and then made a great move to take second on lap five. However a spin dropped him down the field, eventually recovering to tenth at the finish.
A strong opening lap for Hill saw him in fifth, with Kings spin then promoting him to fourth. Pushing hard, Hill closed up to the back of the front three, but was unable to find a way through. For Millroy, the race also proved frustrating. Working his way through the field, the Claygate racer was up to sixth when he became stuck behind Mitchell Gilbert. Unable to get through, he had to settle for sixth, before then being promoted to fifth post-race when Gilbert was penalised.
Manor's Sarah Shaw commented: “It's been another frustrating weekend as all four drivers showed they had the pace to be right at the front but it just didn't happen for us. Jordan and Alice did a great job to take front-row starts in qualifying and all four were capable of podiums.
“We know the pace is there but the results just aren't following at the moment. The team is working really hard to turn that around, hopefully when the season resumes at Oulton Park next month we'll be able to do just that.”