SIXTH PLACE FOR THOMAS HYLKEMA AT ROCKINGHAM ROCKINGHAM, 21 SEPTEMBER 2009 - In the ninth weekend of the British Formula Renault 2.0 championship at the Rockingham Motor Speedway Thomas Hylkema really showed his best by finishing sixth in the ...
SIXTH PLACE FOR THOMAS HYLKEMA AT ROCKINGHAM
ROCKINGHAM, 21 SEPTEMBER 2009 - In the ninth weekend of the British Formula Renault 2.0 championship at the Rockingham Motor Speedway Thomas Hylkema really showed his best by finishing sixth in the second race. With this finish on the 2.638 meters long circuit the Dutchman did a great job for the championship standings. In the first heat on Saturday afternoon Hylkema was on his way to a points finish, but he was told to come into the pit by the stewards due to a loose front wing while being ninth. In two weeks time (October 3-4) the final races of the British Formula Renault Championship 2009 are planned at the Brands Hatch GP circuit.
FREE PRACTICE + QUALIFYING:
After his trip last week to the Italian Formula Renault 2.0 Championship at the Mugello circuit, where he took a fifth and seventh place, Hylkema started his weekend at Rockingham with the two free practice sessions on Friday. In perfect weather and on used tyres he went out on track for the first time in an attempt to find the brake points. Due to several cautions during the session the planned tyre program was not quite finished. In the second session he started on an old set of tyres again and then had a fresh set of rubber mounted under his car later on.
The first qualifying session did not go as planned. Oversteer problems meant he was unable to get the best performance from his tyres and he ended the session in thirteenth place. After several changes to the back of his car he started the final qualifying session. The driver with starting number 9 was on the pace right away and tried to post a fast time on the clocks. However, he was blocked in the last sector and had to be content with ninth place.
RACE 01 + 02:
On Saturday afternoon Hylkema had a good start in the opening race. The 21- year old driver seemed to take advantage of two crashed drivers going into the first corner, but his front wing hit one of the stranded cars. Despite the loose wing Hylkema was able to continue his race and had already moved up into ninth place. As the laps went by Hylkema suffered more understeer in the fast corners on the circuit. Despite the understeer Hylkema was able to close the gap to the number 8 in the race. The race director took no risks however and showed Hylkema the sign to get in because of the broken wing. This meant the Manor Competition driver was forced to come into the pit and retire the race from ninth place.
In front of a big crowd (50,000 spectators!) the second heat took place on Sunday afternoon. After a great start Hylkema managed to overtake two rivals. The success was short-lived when someone behind him out braked himself and Hylkema had to swerve to avoid a collision. Hylkema kept his cool though and caught up on Will Stevens. On the oval part Hylkema passed his British rival on the outside in the second corner and moved up into eighth place. In record time he managed to pass the two drivers in front of him. Hylkema felt really well and quickly closed in on the group of Oakes, Tincknell, Calado and Oli Webb. Because Hylkema had asked a lot from his tyres in the opening stages of the race he suffered oversteer problems towards the end of the race and was unable to try and overtake any of the drivers in front of him. After eighteen laps Hylkema crossed the line in a neat sixth place.
THOMAS HYLKEMA: "Of course I am really happy with my top six result on Sunday. On Saturday I had some bad luck with a loose front wing. I had no problem driving with it, but the race director decided otherwise. I have the feeling I made a new step this weekend. The result we got here at Rockingham is a new starting point for the final races and the upcoming Formula Renault Winter championship. I am starting to make my way up now and I am looking forward to the races at Brands Hatch!