OULTON PARK FRUSTRATION FOR HYLKEMA Manor Competition driver Thomas Hylkema endured a frustrating time at Oulton Park in Cheshire over the weekend, 5th/6th June, but still managed to close out the event inside the top 10 of the Michelin Formula...
OULTON PARK FRUSTRATION FOR HYLKEMA
Manor Competition driver Thomas Hylkema endured a frustrating time at Oulton Park in Cheshire over the weekend, 5th/6th June, but still managed to close out the event inside the top 10 of the Michelin Formula Renault UK Championship standings.
Aiming for a consistent pair of top six results from the fourth event of the season, the 21-year-old Dutch driver's weekend was compromised in qualifying when a tricky opening session was followed by an unfortunate excursion midway through session two.
Knowing what he needed to do to improve on his top 12 starting position for round seven, Thomas looked well on course to qualify in the top six during the round eight session. But after running wide at the exit of Cascades halfway through, his car sustained damage which ruled him out of the remainder of qualifying. In the end, he slipped to 12th place on the timesheets.
Making a great start to Saturday afternoon's 16-lap race, the Delft racer was on the receiving end of contact from Brazilian Fabio Gamberini at the first corner and the resulting damage to Thomas' front wing meant a sharp reduction in performance and lap times. In the end, he finished the race in 13th position to at least secure some valuable championship points.
Hopes were high of big improvements during Sunday's eighth round but more contact led to the aerospace engineering student losing the initial ground he had gained with another good start. After being forced onto the grass, Thomas lost position and had to fight hard to keep 12th placed Michael Lyons behind him.
Resisting a close challenge at the hairpin on lap three, Thomas then started to pull clear in his TORO and Club Car liveried FR 2.0 as he caught new team-mate Ollie Millroy and Alex Lynn ahead. Glued to Millroy's tail for the remainder of the race, the Dutchman finished round eight in 11th position just three 10ths of a second shy of the top 10.
"It's been a very frustrating weekend for me", said Thomas, "I didn't get it together in the first qualifying session on Saturday but things were looking much better for second qualifying until I pushed just a bit too hard at Cascades and went off with half the session remaining. There are a lot of bumps on the infield there so the car came down hard and sustained a lot of damage.
"I made great starts to both races, especially the first one, and I have to say a big thank you to the guys at Manor for getting my car repaired for Saturday afternoon's race -- they didn't have a lot of time in which to sort it out, they did a great job. Unfortunately, (Fabio) Gamberini damaged my front wing at the first corner so that meant my race was lost."
He added: "In Sunday's race, I made a good start again but there was some contact from my new team-mate (Ollie) Millroy and I went off. I lost momentum and a couple of places but I managed to catch him back up. It was impossible to overtake though so we ran nose-to-tail to the flag."
Determined to secure the results befitting his true pace, Thomas is now looking forward to the next event a fortnight from now, 19th/20th June, at Croft Circuit in North Yorkshire.