F3 Euroseries title contender Alexander Sims overcame illness and seriously limited seat-time during the final officially timed test of the pre-season in Valencia to post a highly impressive fourth fastest time overall.
Driving for multiple championship-winning team ART Grand Prix, the second-year F3 racer did an outstanding job in difficult circumstances over the course of the latest two-day outing to produce a best lap of 1min 28.29secs, just two-tenths of a second shy of the outright pace.
Missing the entirety of the opening morning on Monday due to stomach-related illness, the 22-year old still managed to lap in an excellent 1min 29.256secs during the afternoon session to finish the first day a mere 0.3secs adrift.
On Tuesday, Sims improved his pace markedly during the morning run to record his best effort, but any hopes of trying to improve in the last session were dealt a major blow when a gearbox problem resulted in more lost time. Even so, the ART mechanics did a first class job to fit a brand new gearbox which at least enabled the talented Briton to get back out on track.
“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,”, Sims commented, “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.”
As the 2008 McLaren Autosport BRDC Award winner, one of just 13 drivers on the prestigious British Racing Drivers' Club Superstars programme and a member of the invitation-only Team UK initiative, Sims has developed an outstanding reputation since graduating to car racing at the tail-end of 2006 and is widely regarded as a genuine 2010 F3 Euroseries title contender.
During his maiden season of F3 in last year's Euroseries, the 2008 Formula Renault UK vice-champion ended up as the second best rookie, and an outstanding fourth overall in the main championship standings, with one race win and five podiums. Prior to this week's test in Valencia, he had been third quickest over the course of a two-day run at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona.