UK: Manor Competition Thruxton summary

GREAT START TO SEASON FOR MANOR WITH THRUXTON ONE-TWO Manor Competition made an excellent start to the 2010 Michelin Formula Renault UK Championship at Thruxton over the weekend, 3rd/4th April, with a superb one-two finish for Will Stevens and...

GREAT START TO SEASON FOR MANOR WITH THRUXTON ONE-TWO

Manor Competition made an excellent start to the 2010 Michelin Formula Renault UK Championship at Thruxton over the weekend, 3rd/4th April, with a superb one-two finish for Will Stevens and Lewis Williamson during the second race of the season opener.

Demonstrating a dominant performance by the Nottinghamshire squad, 18-year-old Stevens led home his team-mate by just seven 10ths of a second but the duo were five seconds clear of their closest challenger. Williamson also secured two bonus points for posting the fastest lap of the race, a new Thruxton record for the 2010 FR 2.0 car with a time of 1m09.895 seconds (121.34mph).

Evenly matched throughout the weekend, Stevens and Williamson took a pole position start apiece during qualifying on Saturday, 3rd April, and in round one later in the day Oxshott-based Stevens sealed a fine second place finish -- carving his way through from eighth on the grid.

Williamson was just nine 10ths of a second shy of the podium, having led the first half of the race, but he was unable to prevent an inevitable slip down the order to fourth place after damage sustained in a first corner clash took its toll.

Round two was something of a masterclass by the Manor pairing, Stevens scorching away from pole to take a lights-to-flag victory -- his first race win in Formula Renault UK -- while rapid Scotsman Williamson came through superbly from fourth on the grid to shadow Stevens all the way to the flag.

In terms of the championship table, Stevens heads the standings by six points from his closest rival with 20-year-old Williamson in third place just eight points adrift of his team-mate. Combining their scores for the entrant's championship, Manor Competition leads the way by 18 points.

Commenting on his maiden race win, Stevens said: "I worked really hard over the winter, as has the team, and this weekend's performance is a culmination of that. I'm really, really happy to have taken the win and to be leading the championship after the first event is great. Obviously, there's a long way to go but we've made a very good start."

Manor reveals new livery for first time

Sporting a brand new livery on its cars for 2010, reflecting the squad's association with the Virgin Racing Formula One Team, Manor witnessed strong pace from Dutchman Thomas Hylkema and category rookie Josh Mulholland, both though enduring some misfortune along the way.

Hylkema's best qualifying effort came during the second session with an excellent top five time of 1m09.751 seconds (121.59mph) -- just three 10ths of a second outside Stevens' pole lap. Mulholland also delivered his best performance in the round two session, a good time of 1m10.266 seconds (120.70mph) grabbing a place at the head of row seven.

At the start of round two, Hylkema got away well and climbed into the top four by the time he reached the complex. Heading out through the fast section of Goodwood, Village and Church corners -- where the cars reach around 150mph -- on the outside line, the Dutch 21-year-old had to take avoiding action due to contact with Harry Tincknell as the pair diced over third place.

Running wide onto the grass, Hylkema did rejoin in seventh and instantly made progress back inside the top six but a second spin at the complex, this time after being sandwiched by Jordan Oakes and Tama's Pa'l Kiss on lap five, dropped him down to 16th but he fought back well to an eventual finish of 12th position. The result matched his round one placing which he achieved from 16th on the grid.

Northern Irishman Mulholland produced good pace on his competitive Formula Renault UK debut but had very unfortunate problems in both races. Starting round two in 13th position the 20-year-old sustained damage to the underside of his car, most likely from one of Thruxton's notorious kerbs, which caused a significant drop in pace and resulted in an 18th place finish.

Round one, which took place in tricky, drying conditions, on Saturday, also ended in disappointment for the quick young rookie as he was taken out of action on entry to the second turn by Brazilian Fabio Gamberini on lap one. Having displayed strong pace throughout his debut weekend in Formula Renault UK, the Co. Antrim racer will be hoping for better fortune during the next two rounds.

Manor Competition's Tony Shaw said: "As ever this weekend has been a great team effort, everyone has worked incredibly hard since we arrived at the track on Thursday. To take a one-two finish and a couple of pole positions is a fantastic way to start the new season. Thomas, and especially Josh, had some bad luck but on balance it's been a very positive weekend.

"Race two was the first bone-dry session we'd had so we got our heads together to make sure we weren't too cautious or too aggressive with the set-up, Sarah (Shaw) deserves all of the credit for the decision we took. Will and Lewis were mighty and they'll certain push each other on all season. We did have the chance of a Manor one, two, three in race two as Thomas' pace was very impressive.

"Josh had terrible luck in both races so he wasn't able to show his true pace, there was nothing he could do in race one when taken out at the complex and then in race two he picked up some major damage to the underside of the car which resulted in a significant loss in lap times."

Manor Competition now has a three-week break ahead of the third and fourth rounds of the season at Rockingham in Northamptonshire on 24th/25th April. In the meantime, Tony and Sarah Shaw would also like to take the opportunity to thank Ed and Verity at the Cricketers Arms in Tangley for their superb hospitality over the Thruxton weekend!

-source: manor competition

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About this article
Series Formula Renault
Drivers Thomas Hylkema , Will Stevens , Fabio Gamberini , Lewis Williamson , Harry Tincknell
Teams Williams , Virgin Racing