HYLKEMA AND CALADO ON TOP AT BRANDS HATCH TEST Manor Competition's Thomas Hylkema (NED) and Fortec Motortsport's James Calado (Cropthorne, Worcester) headed the timesheets in the second official Formula Renault UK with Michelin Championship test...
HYLKEMA AND CALADO ON TOP AT BRANDS HATCH TEST
Manor Competition's Thomas Hylkema (NED) and Fortec Motortsport's James Calado (Cropthorne, Worcester) headed the timesheets in the second official Formula Renault UK with Michelin Championship test at Kent's Brands Hatch Indy circuit on 3rd/4th March. 20-year-old Hylkema took the overall honours setting the fastest time of the two-day test during the afternoon session on Wednesday, 4th March at 43.887s (98.32mph average), while Calado, now in his second season, was the leading driver on Tuesday, 3rd March with a time of 43.924s (98.23mph average).
Alpine Motorsport's Dean Stoneman (Southampton), who went quickest in the first official test at Rockingham Motor Speedway last week, was third quickest overall with his best time of 43.978s (98.11mph average) set on Wednesday afternoon.
Tuesday, 3rd March saw competitors take to the tight 1.20-mile Brands Hatch Indy circuit in dry but cloudy conditions. Following on from a good run at Rockingham, Calado quickly set what would become the fastest time of the morning session -- 43.973s (98.12mph average) -- on his 20th lap. Shortly after, Stoneman replied with his best time of the session of 44.254s (97.50mph average) to leave him second quickest with Fortec Motorsport's Oli Webb (Knutsford), team mate Fredrik Blomstedt (SWE) and CRS Racing's Harry Tincknell (Exeter) rounding off the top five before rain led to a wet track for the final 60 minutes of the morning session.
In the three-hour afternoon session, which saw the track largely dry, Calado continued to impress setting the fastest time of the day at 43.924s (98.23mph average) with Blomstedt just 0.167s behind him. Stoneman was unable to better his time after being forced to sit out the whole of the afternoon session due to technical problems to the underside of his car.
Meanwhile, Hylkema could only manage fifth quickest in the session with Webb, Fortec's Graduate Cup driver Will Stevens (Oxshott, Surrey), CRS Racing's Matias Laine (FIN) and Eurotek's Jordan Oakes (Hopton on Sea) making up the rest of the top spots.
The day also saw the Formula Renault UK drivers joined by several cars from the Formula Renault BARC Championship with Welch Motorsport's Kourosh Khani the leading driver with a time of 45.694s (94.43mph average).
On day two, Calado again set the early pace on his 17th lap with a time of 43.992s (98.08mph average) with Hylkema just 0.019s behind. Webb, Tincknell and Oakes were also among the quickest drivers as was Stoneman who went fifth fastest.
In the final session, Hylkema just pipped Calado to the top of the timesheets by the narrowest of margins -- a mere 0.004s -- to claim the fastest time of the two-day test. Stoneman could only manage third with Blomstedt, Laine, Tincknell and CRS Racing's Lewis Williamson (Golspie, Sutherland) just behind him.
The two-day session also saw several drivers look to gain mileage ahead of their debut season in the Championship, with Manor Competition's Alice Powell (Chipping Norton) among those racking up more than 100 laps on each of the two days.
Commenting after testing on day-two, Hylkema said: "I'm really pleased with how testing went and how we've progressed from Rockingham. We were off the pace on Tuesday but gradually got quicker over the sessions, and on the last session went out on fresh tyres and waited for the right moment to make one last push for a really good time. I certainly wasn't expecting to go quickest but this has definitely boosted my confidence and increased my expectations for the championship."
Commenting on his performance, Calado said: "Overall it's been a really good test and the team has been able to try lots of different settings and we now think we've found a good race set up. Although Hylkema did go quicker than me, we were using old tyres to save them for later in the season so I'm not too concerned, plus it was by the smallest of margins. The session also allowed me to test in wet conditions and I'm pleased my times were just as consistent in the wet as in the dry."
The third official Formula Renault UK two-day test takes place on 11th/12th March at Norfolk's Snetterton circuit, ahead of the opening two rounds of the Formula Renault UK Championship at Brands Hatch Indy circuit on 4th/5th April.
-credit: frenault uk