UNLUCKY WEEKEND FOR HYLKEMA ON FIRST VISIT TO SCOTLAND Thomas Hylkema endured perhaps his most difficult weekend of the 2010 Formula Renault UK season at Knockhill Circuit in Scotland over the weekend, 4th/5th September -- the 22-year-old Dutch...
UNLUCKY WEEKEND FOR HYLKEMA ON FIRST VISIT TO SCOTLAND
Thomas Hylkema endured perhaps his most difficult weekend of the 2010 Formula Renault UK season at Knockhill Circuit in Scotland over the weekend, 4th/5th September -- the 22-year-old Dutch racer slipping to 12th in the driver standings after two very trying encounters.
Heading into the event, his first ever visit to the Fife track, with a great deal of confidence, Thomas and his three Manor Competition team-mates all had problems with set-up during the build-up to rounds 15 and 16.
The net result for the Delft-based aerospace engineering student was an uncharacteristic 15th fastest in both qualifying sessions, not the start to the weekend he wanted and especially after scoring heavily during the previous three races.
Sunday morning's 15th round resulted in an unfortunate retirement following a late race excursion into the gravel at the John R Weir Chicane on lap 24. Running on the edge of the top 10 and posting personal best lap times just prior to the incident, he unfortunately ended the encounter against the tyre barriers.
Round 16 was the best of the two races for Thomas but it still didn't deliver the outcome he deserved. Getting away from the grid well, the Club Car, TORO and Geothex supported driver aimed to make good progress early on but at the hairpin at the end of the opening lap he was pushed wide into the gravel as several cars fought to avoid David McDonald's spinning car.
The race was punctuated by two Safety Car periods and after the first, Thomas was able to move ahead of Michael Lyons for 13th place. Soon after though, officials served the Manor racer with a drive-through penalty as the pass was deemed to have taken place under yellow flags.
Frustrated by the penalty, Thomas at least had the consolation of a second Safety Car period late on which enabled him to catch the train of cars following his earlier delay. In the end he finished in 13th position but this later became 12th place when McDonald was excluded from the results.
Speaking on the weekend, Thomas said: "I was really looking forward to my first visit to Knockhill but it all turned out very disappointing in the end. As a team we struggled for pace compared to the other front-runners during testing and qualifying and that put us on the back-foot to begin with. In the races, I felt happier with some changes to the car but the outcome was very disappointing."
Next on the Formula Renault UK calendar is a return to Silverstone in Northamptonshire for the penultimate event of the 2010 season, rounds 17 and 18, over the weekend 18th/19th September.
Rather than its regular slot on the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship package, which will be racing on the same weekend at Donington Park in the East Midlands, Formula Renault UK will form part of the annual British round of the World Series by Renault festival -- sharing the bill with categories including Eurocup Formula Renault, the series in which Thomas' brother Bart competes.
2010 Michelin Formula Renault UK Championship standings (after Rd16): 12th Thomas Hylkema, 145pts