AT BRANDS HATCH
Manor Competition’s Thomas Hylkema delighted his Nottinghamshire team at Brands Hatch yesterday, Wednesday, 4th March, by setting the fastest time of all during the second official test of the Formula Renault UK Championship pre-season.
The ever-improving 20-year-old, from Maarn in The Netherlands, was in outstanding form over the course of the two-day run at the 1.2-mile Kent track and concluded the outing with a best lap of 43.887 seconds ( 98.32mph) on Wednesday afternoon to emerge quickest on the day and on overall times for the whole test.
Lapping a full four 10ths of a second inside the official Formula Renault UK lap record yesterday, Hylkema improved by half a second on his best effort from the opening day of the Brands Hatch test on Tuesday, 3rd March.
Ending day one with a time of 44.326 seconds (97.34mph), the Dutchman was seventh fastest but just four 10ths of a second shy of the top of the times. Realistically he was all set to lap under the 44 second barrier but was unfortunately held-up by traffic on his new tyre run.
“We’re over the moon to have ended the Brands Hatch test fastest with Thomas, he did an absolutely stonking job over the two days”, said Manor team boss Tony Shaw, “With Brands hosting the first two rounds of the championship, this week’s test was very important and we completed a lot of essential work. The team has worked fantastically well.”
Fellow Manor racers Alice Powell and David McDonald, both newcomers to the country’s most high-profile, one-make single-seater championship, enjoyed two very positive days at Brands Hatch with Powell ending the test with a best time of 44.342 seconds (97.31mph) and McDonald just three 10ths of a second further adrift with a quickest lap of 44.639 seconds (96.66mph).
On Tuesday, a day affected by rainfall, 16-year-old Powell was just half a second behind Hylkema with a time of 44.892 seconds (96.12mph) but her best performance by far came during day two when the Chipping Norton-based starlet found a full half second to improve to 14th fastest overall on the final day and the sixth quickest Graduate Cup runner.
Ewell-based McDonald, for whom Brands Hatch is his local track, was less than a 10th of a second shy of team-mate Powell in both of Tuesday’s sessions and ended the opening day of the test with a best time of 44.932 seconds (96.03mph). Yesterday, the 19-year-old found an extra three 10ths of a second, even though his car had some straight-line speed problems, and concluded the outing just seven 10ths of a second shy of Hylkema.
Shaw added: “Alice and David have worked incredibly hard once again and both are gaining vital experience each time they’re in the car. The last two days have been incredibly close, as they always are at Brands, but they’ve done a superb job on a very busy and congested circuit.
“They’re performing incredibly well but we did have a straight-line speed issue with David’s car which we couldn’t quite get to the bottom of at the track. Unfortunately this compromised his pace but he was still driving very well indeed.”
Snetterton in Norfolk will host the third official test of the Formula Renault UK pre-season next week on Wednesday, 11th March, and Thursday, 12th March.