SEASON-BEST RESULTS FOR HYLKEMA AT ROCKINGHAM Dutch racing driver Thomas Hylkema secured his first top 10 finish of the 2010 Michelin Formula Renault UK Championship at Rockingham in Northamptonshire on Sunday, 25th April, but the Manor ...
SEASON-BEST RESULTS FOR HYLKEMA AT ROCKINGHAM
Dutch racing driver Thomas Hylkema secured his first top 10 finish of the 2010 Michelin Formula Renault UK Championship at Rockingham in Northamptonshire on Sunday, 25th April, but the Manor Competition racer was frustrated not to have taken more points away from the event.
Qualifying on Saturday, 24th April, was where the 21-year-old aerospace student felt his weekend was compromised when he was only able to post the 12th fastest time during the round three period and the 16th best lap in the round four session.
Not quite finding the optimum set-up for qualifying, Thomas knew the races would be tough battles but he performed very well indeed in both 16-lap encounters to display the sort of pace which could have delivered so much more in terms of results, had he started inside the top 10.
At the beginning of round three, which took place in slippery conditions due to overnight rain, the Delft-based driver held on to his 12th place starting position and on lap two moved past former team-mate Robert Foster-Jones. On lap three, he made more progress into the top 10 but then slipped behind Foster-Jones on the 13th tour at Deene Hairpin when forced slightly wide.
Sticking with his rival, both benefitted from the demise of Nick Yelloly out of fourth place when he ran wide at Tarzan Hairpin. Pressing on in 10th position, Thomas applied increasing pressure to Foster-Jones and ended the race just eight 10ths of a second adrift.
Round four on Sunday afternoon took place in fully dry conditions and although the end result was an 11th place finish, the performance was much more competitive than in the opening encounter and especially so during the closing stages.
Getting away from the grid well, the Toro and Club Car-backed racer quickly made inroads and moved into 14th place just behind Manor team-mate Josh Mulholland but his pass of the race came on lap five when getting ahead of both Mulholland and Victor Correa to grab 12th position.
Pressing on, Thomas' pace improved as the race progressed and on the 14th tour he posted his best lap of the race with a time of 1m16.936 seconds -- just half a second outside the fastest lap of all. In 11th position as the encounter entered its final couple of laps, he challenged 10th placed Foster-Jones hard but had to settle for 11th, just 0.5 seconds outside the top 10.
Looking back at the weekend as a whole, Thomas said: "It's not been as strong a weekend as we had hoped but taking two solid finishes is important for the championship. Qualifying didn't go well for us and that put is in a difficult position for the races, we didn't quite get the set-up right but for the second race I was much happier with the car and could push.
"Our pace in the second race was good enough to challenge for the top six but to come through from 16th on the grid to 11th isn't too bad. It's important for us to get things right for qualifying at Brands Hatch next weekend, if we do that I'm sure we'll be strong in the races."
Brands Hatch Grand Prix Circuit in Kent will host the next two Formula Renault UK Championship races, rounds five and six, a week from now on 1st/2nd May.