POSITIVE END TO FORMULA RENAULT UK PRE-SEASON FOR HYLKEMA Manor Competition driver Thomas Hylkema is relishing the start of the 2010 Michelin Formula Renault UK Championship, which gets underway exactly a week from now on 3rd/4th April, after a...
POSITIVE END TO FORMULA RENAULT UK PRE-SEASON FOR HYLKEMA
Manor Competition driver Thomas Hylkema is relishing the start of the 2010 Michelin Formula Renault UK Championship, which gets underway exactly a week from now on 3rd/4th April, after a highly positive conclusion to official pre-season testing.
Consistently running in the top 10 throughout the past month's testing action, 21-year-old Thomas was once again on good form at Snetterton in Norfolk this week for the final practice outing prior to Easter Weekend's season-opening races.
On Tuesday, 23rd March, the Delft-based Dutchman was 11th fastest overall across the two sessions with a best time of 1m04.912 seconds (108.25mph) during the afternoon -- improving by a second on his morning effort.
Even though he didn't get the chance to run with new tyres on Wednesday, 24th March, Thomas still managed to produce laps good enough to be in and around the top 10 during two of the four sessions. His best of 1m05.435 seconds (107.39mph) came during the first of the afternoon runs and placed him 11th quickest for the day, nine 10ths of a second shy of the outright pace.
On combined times for the entire test, the TORO and Club Car-supported driver was 11th overall with his best lap from day one, placing him less than eight 10ths of a second away from team-mate Will Stevens' pace-setting best.
Thomas said: "It was a bit harder than the other tests, generally I expected a bit more from the two days but we improved throughout and did some good work with the set-up. We didn't get a chance to use new tyres on the second day as it started to rain before our planned run but that at least gave us some good experience to learn about the rain tyre. Overall it was a productive two days."
Hylkema aiming for solid start to season at Thruxton
Having now concluded a very strong month of testing, Thomas is aiming to build on the progress made throughout the past four weeks when the first race weekend of the 2010 Michelin Formula Renault UK Championship gets underway at Thruxton.
Heading into his second season with reigning driver champions Manor, the Dutch single-seater star has high hopes of hitting the ground running at the Hampshire track next weekend and is fully focused on securing two consistently strong results during rounds one and two.
"Obviously I want to qualify in the top 10 for both races and be as near to the front of the grid as I possibly can, I think that's a realistic goal", commented Thomas, "Qualifying was where I struggled last season but if I can get that right, in the races we should be ok. Ideally, we need two finishes in the top six or top eight -- that'll be my aim and if we can achieve that I'll be very happy."
Following pre-event testing on Friday, 2nd April, round one qualifying will get underway at 09.00 on Saturday, 3rd April, the round two session will take place at 13.50 and the opening race of 2010 will begin at approximately 17.35. Round two is scheduled for 15.05 on Sunday, 4th April.
-source: thomas hylkema