STEVENS ENDS FORMULA RENAULT PRE-SEASON ON TOP AT SNETTERTON Michelin Formula Renault UK Championship front-runner Will Stevens ended this week's final test of the 2010 pre-season quickest of all for crack squad Manor Competition, the Surrey ...
STEVENS ENDS FORMULA RENAULT PRE-SEASON ON TOP AT SNETTERTON
Michelin Formula Renault UK Championship front-runner Will Stevens ended this week's final test of the 2010 pre-season quickest of all for crack squad Manor Competition, the Surrey 18-year-old heading the combined timesheets at Snetterton by just over a 10th of a second.
Little more than a week away from the opening two rounds of the championship, the New Ollerton-based team prepared very well indeed for the first race meeting of the campaign with Lewis Williamson third overall, Josh Mulholland 10th and Thomas Hylkema 11th on combined timings.
Underlining the competitiveness of Formula Renault UK, less than eight 10ths of a second separated Stevens at the head of the timing screens from team-mate Hylkema in 11th position overall. In total, Manor Competition has headed two of the four official tests held during the pre-season.
Day one at the 1.95-mile Norfolk track, Tuesday, 23rd March, provided the quickest times -- Stevens leading the way with a lap of 1m04.150 seconds (109.54mph), just 0.156 seconds ahead of Scottish 20-year-old Williamson in third position.
Northern Irishman Mulholland, who prior to the Snetterton test had endured a luckless run due to a number of mechanical issues with his brand new FR 2.0 car, enjoyed a turn-around in fortunes with the 10th best time of 1m04.860 seconds (108.34mph). Hylkema, meanwhile, was a whisker behind in 11th position, the 21-year-old Dutchman's best lap a time of 1m04.912 seconds (108.25mph).
On Wednesday, 24th March, a day shared with drivers from the ELF Renault Clio Cup, the Formula Renault UK competitors had four test sessions with the first -- run on a damp track -- headed by Williamson after he produced a time of 1m10.589 seconds (99.54mph).
Stevens was third during the first session and continued his front-running performance into the next run with the third best lap. Williamson was also consistently strong and finished session two second fastest, 0.157 seconds ahead of his team-mate.
Session two was also the most impressive of the day for 20-year-old Mulholland who was a superb fifth fastest, exactly half a second outside the relative pace at that point. Hylkema, meanwhile, produced his best effort of the final day during session three, closing to within nine 10ths of a second of the pace.
Reflecting on the week's action, Manor Competition's Sarah Shaw said: "We've rounded off the pre-season quite nicely, it's great to finish at the top of the times and with all four drivers showing front-running pace. None of us are getting carried away though, testing is just testing -- we need to carry a high level of performance forward to Thruxton next weekend, that's where it will count.
"Will and Lewis have both been right at the front of things throughout official testing and this week's two days at Snetterton have been no exception. We're absolutely delighted Josh managed to get some good track-time under his belt and to be quick too after all of the problems with his car in recent weeks and Thomas was right there too as we expect. All four guys have done a great job."
Rounds one and two of the 2009 Michelin Formula Renault UK Championship will take place just over a week from now, 3rd/4th April, at Thruxton Circuit in Hampshire. Live television coverage will be screened on Freeview, cable and digital satellite channel ITV4 -- please check listings for full details.
-source: manor competition