WILLIAMSON LEADS MANOR CHARGE DURING ROCKINGHAM TEST Scotland's Lewis Williamson maintained his excellent pre-season form during this week's two-day Michelin Formula Renault UK outing at Rockingham, the Manor Competition driver ending the test...
WILLIAMSON LEADS MANOR CHARGE DURING ROCKINGHAM TEST
Scotland's Lewis Williamson maintained his excellent pre-season form during this week's two-day Michelin Formula Renault UK outing at Rockingham, the Manor Competition driver ending the test second fastest overall.
Posting the second quickest time at all three of the official tests held so far, the 20-year-old from Golspie, Sutherland, was in consistently strong form at the 1.94-mile Northamptonshire venue over the course of the two days -- his best time of 1m14.837 seconds (93.32mph) coming during the first afternoon on Monday, 15th March.
Concluding day one second quickest on combined times, Williamson led the way during the opening session on Tuesday, 16th March, with a lap of 1m15.072 seconds (93.02mph) which placed him third quickest overall for day two. Marginally slower on the final afternoon, the British Racing Drivers' Club (BRDC) Rising Star was still inside the top six to round off another highly competitive showing.
Fellow front-runner Will Stevens ended the two days with the sixth fastest time overall, his best lap of 1m15.118 seconds (92.97mph) coming on Tuesday afternoon. Placing him fourth quickest in the session and fifth overall for the day, the 18-year-old's pace in the final session meant he closed to within less than half a second of the outright best, even though running a raft of set-up changes.
Oxshott-based Stevens, a member of the prestigious 'Team UK' scheme, was 10th overall on the opening day with a best lap of 1m15.493 seconds (92.51mph) but improved by almost four 10ths of a second on Tuesday around the testing International Super Sports Car Circuit configuration. Due to the set-up work being done, his times weren't indicative of his genuine pace.
Thomas Hylkema made it three Manor Competition cars in the top 10 on combined times for the two days thanks to a best lap which, like team-mate Stevens, he set on the final afternoon -- a time of 1m15.342 seconds (92.69mph) placing the 21-year-old Dutchman seventh fastest in the session.
His Tuesday morning time of 1m15.519 seconds (92.47mph) was good enough for eighth quickest in that session, capping off a very strong second day. Between Monday's outing and the close of the test on day two, Hylkema improved by 1.1 seconds in total.
Josh Mulholland continued to acclimatise well to the brand new FR 2.0 car even though he had a very frustrating couple of days with a recurring gearbox problem. Having experienced the issue at Silverstone last week, the 20-year-old from Co. Antrim was incredibly unfortunate to suffer from the same problem although Renault Sport UK officials worked hard to help try and rectify the issue.
Producing his fastest lap of the two days, 1m15.587 seconds (92.39mph), on Monday afternoon, the Formula Renault BARC graduate finished the day a creditable 13th fastest overall. Although not improving in terms of time on Tuesday, Mulholland still managed to conclude this week's outing within a second of the outright pace -- a noteworthy effort considering all of the track time he lost.
"The whole team has worked incredibly hard over the last couple of days", said team co-owner Tony Shaw, "It was great to see Lewis inside the top two again, he did a terrific job, and Will's progress on day two was good although his times weren't an indication of his true pace as we were trying a lot of changes on his car. Thomas had another strong run, he produced a good showing and improved markedly between the two days.
"We were all bitterly disappointed Josh's car had a gearbox problem again, to have the same issue twice on a new car is never good and it's particularly sad to see a championship newcomer like Josh having to sit on the sidelines due to a problem with a new car. We do want to express our sincere thanks to Allen Collen and John Millett from Renault for their help though which was invaluable."
Snetterton in Norfolk will host the final officially timed two-day test of the Michelin Formula Renault UK Championship pre-season next week on Tuesday, 23rd March, and Wednesday, 24th March.
-source: manor competition