STEVENS & WILLIAMSON LOCK-OUT BRANDS TEST FOR MANOR Will Stevens and Lewis Williamson kicked-off the official Michelin Formula Renault UK Championship pre-season in perfect style for Manor Competition at Brands Hatch this week -- the New...
STEVENS & WILLIAMSON LOCK-OUT BRANDS TEST FOR MANOR
Will Stevens and Lewis Williamson kicked-off the official Michelin Formula Renault UK Championship pre-season in perfect style for Manor Competition at Brands Hatch this week -- the New Ollerton team heading both days of testing with a terrific display.
Oxshott-based Stevens underlined his position as a genuine title challenger during the second day of running at the Kent track's 1.2-mile Indy Circuit yesterday, Wednesday, 3rd March, with a stunning time of 42.968 seconds (100.42mph) -- the only racer to dip below the 43 second mark.
Placing him two 10ths of a second clear of his closest rival on the day, the 18-year-old's push during the final few minutes also meant he ended the first officially timed outing of 2010 as the fastest driver of all on combined times, 0.123 seconds ahead of team-mate Williamson.
The Scottish 20-year-old, who resides in Golspie, headed the timings on Tuesday, 2nd March, with a best lap of 43.091 seconds (100.13mph) in the afternoon. Lapping in the top five during the first morning, Williamson leapt to the top of the timesheets in session two to head reigning Graduate Cup Champion Harry Tincknell by an impressive 0.211 seconds.
During the second day of testing on Wednesday, he achieved a lap of 43.261 seconds (99.74mph) which placed him fifth overall. On combined times for the entire test though, Williamson's Tuesday best of 43.091 seconds meant he ended up with the second fastest lap of all. He and Stevens were also the only two drivers to lap with an average speed of more than 100mph.
"It's been a great start for us, it was fantastic to have Lewis on top of the times on Tuesday and then Will on top yesterday", said Manor Competition's Tony Shaw, "There's a lot to learn with the new car but the team is working so hard and doing an unbelievable job. We've got a first class team of people at Manor but we're not getting carried away, there's a huge amount of hard work ahead."
Hylkema and Mulholland make sound start to 2010
Thomas Hylkema improved by half a second between the two days to finish the test as the eighth quickest driver on overall times. Marking a great effort by the Dutchman, he concluded the outing with a best lap of 43.439 seconds (99.33mph) which was posted on Wednesday afternoon -- the best session of the four for Manor as a whole with three cars in the top eight.
The 21-year-old ended the opening day 12th fastest with a time of 43.906 seconds (98.27mph), just 0.136 seconds outside the top 10, but improved to 43.884 seconds (98.32mph) on Wednesday morning. He then made even bigger gains during the fourth and final session, finding an extra four 10ths of a second to end the test just 0.471 seconds shy of Stevens' timesheet topping best.
Championship rookie Josh Mulholland made good progress on his first officially timed UK outing in the brand new FR 2.0 car, ending the test with a quickest lap of 44.233 seconds (97.55mph). Placing him 17th fastest on combined times, the 20-year-old's best came during the final session.
Improving his lap times by half a second on Tuesday, the Randalstown-based Northern Irishman produced consistent pace on day two and finished up just over a second shy of the outright pace, even though he missed almost the entire morning with car troubles. Making a pleasing start to his Formula Renault UK career, there is undoubtedly much more to come from Mulholland.
Shaw added: "All four drivers did a great job over the last couple of days, Will and Lewis were very strong and Thomas could have been further up the times too. Finishing in the top eight was a good performance by him, and he has come on in leaps and bounds since he joined us at the start of last season, but there's definitely more to come.
"Josh has a lot of potential and even though he lost most of the morning on Wednesday due to an extensive mechanical problem, he has made good progress. He's on a very steep learning curve as the new car is very different to the BARC Renault he raced last year but he's doing a good job, we're very happy with all four guys."
Prior to this week's first officially timed test of 2010 on British soil, the Manor Competition quartet joined teams from Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 at Valencia in Spain for the opening collective test outing on the continent.
Stevens emerged as the fastest Manor driver over the course of the two officially-timed days with a best lap of 1m32.598 seconds, just three 100ths of a second shy of the top of the timesheets in second position. Williamson was fifth overall with a time of 1m32.888 seconds while Hylkema posted a best of 1m33.686 seconds and Mulholland lapped with a time of 1m34.541 seconds.
Official Michelin Formula Renault UK Championship testing resumes at Silverstone National Circuit in Northamptonshire next Tuesday, 9th March.
-source: manor competition