PROMISING OFFICIAL TEST BOOSTS HYLKEMA AT CROFT Thomas Hylkema continued his promising start to the Michelin Formula Renault UK Championship during official testing at Croft Circuit in North Yorkshire on Tuesday, 11th May, with a very strong top...
PROMISING OFFICIAL TEST BOOSTS HYLKEMA AT CROFT
Thomas Hylkema continued his promising start to the Michelin Formula Renault UK Championship during official testing at Croft Circuit in North Yorkshire on Tuesday, 11th May, with a very strong top eight performance on combined times.
Running the brand new 2010 FR 2.0 car for the first time at the 2.12-mile track, teams and drivers faced a new experience but Thomas immediately produced impressive pace, running in the top four for a large part of the morning.
Posting a best time of 1m17.524 seconds (98.68mph) before the lunch break, the 21-year-old from Delft in The Netherlands lapped within 0.6 seconds of the outright pace and ended the session seventh fastest -- even though he used old tyres throughout.
"We started the day really well", said the Manor Competition driver, "We ran on old tyres to get into things as this was the first time we'd been to Croft with the new car but it all went well and we had good pace. In the beginning we were second fastest and ran in the top four until other people went onto new tyres. Considering that we were on the old tyres, I was pleased with our performance."
During the afternoon session, Thomas improved by over a second but could have been quicker still had he not been forced to pit for checks to his front wing after heavily clipping one of the notorious kerbs at the chicane during the final 10 minutes when he had taken fresh rubber.
Returning to the track in time for just one flying lap, the Club Car and TORO-supported racer set his best lap of the day -- 1m16.499 seconds (100.00mph) -- to go eighth fastest overall, less than two 10ths of a second shy of the top four.
He added: "After lunch we carried on making improvements and trying some set-up changes so we remained on old tyres. We ran better rubber in the last 40 minutes or so and improved our pace immediately but then we put on some new boots for the last 10 minutes. Unfortunately, I got some traffic and clipped a kerb at the chicane quite hard so I pitted to get my front wing checked over.
"That only gave my one flying lap right at the end but I set my fastest time then so I think if we had been able to stay out for the full 10 minutes we could have been in the top five, we were less than a 10th of a second away from that. It's important to know the pace is there and I'm feeling really confident for when we come back to race at Croft in the middle of June."
Thomas will be back in action next Monday, 17th May, at the new Silverstone Arena Grand Prix Circuit for another day of official testing. Following this, rounds seven and eight of the 2010 season will take place at Oulton Park Island Circuit in Cheshire over the weekend 5th/6th June.