Manor Competition's Lewis Williamson has continued his strong start in pre season testing ahead of the 2010 Formula Renault UK Championship.
Williamson, who has finished second fastest during all the official sessions thus far, was in strong form round the 1.94 mile Rockingham Motor Speedway in Northamptonshire. Williamson's fastest time came on the opening day of the two day test, during the afternoon session on the Monday.
After setting a time of 1m14.837s during the opening day, Williamson set the fastest time of the opening session on the Tuesday, which was slightly slower than his fastest time from the opening day.
Williamson was slightly slower again during the final session of the two day test, but still set a time fast enough to classify him within the top 6. Overall, Williamson's time of 1m15.072s was fastest enough to place him third on the day.
Williamson's team mate, Will Stevens, ended the session inside the top 6, after setting a 1m15.118s during the final session of the test, which gave him the fourth best time of the session, and the fifth best time of the day. This time was within half a second of the fastest time, even with a raft of set up changes.
The 1m15.118s which Stevens set during the second days testing was four tenths faster than his best time from the opening day, where he was only tenth fastest, but his pace wasn't genuine due to set up work being carried on.
Thomas Hylkema, the team's third driver, also set a time fast enough to classify him inside the top 10, and like team mate Stevens, Hylkema set his best time in the final session, a 1m15.342s placing him seventh in the session classification.
Hylkema set a 1m15.519s in the Tuesday morning session, a time which was good enough for eighth in the session. Between the start of the day and the end of the two day test, the 21 year old Dutchman had improved by 1.1s.
For Formula Renault graduate Josh Mulholland, the Rockingham test saw him gain more time in the new car, even with another two days full of gearbox problems. Mulholland set his best time on Monday afternoon; a 1m15.587s saw him finish a creditable 13th overall. Mulholland wasn't able to improve his best time during the two sessions on the Tuesday, but he was within a second of the front running pace.
“The whole team has worked incredibly hard over the last couple of days”, said team co-owner Tony Shaw, “It was great to see Lewis inside the top two again, he did a terrific job, and Will's progress on day two was good although his times weren't an indication of his true pace as we were trying a lot of changes on his car. Thomas had another strong run; he produced a good showing and improved markedly between the two days.
“We were all bitterly disappointed Josh's car had a gearbox problem again, to have the same issue twice on a new car is never good and it's particularly sad to see a championship newcomer like Josh having to sit on the sidelines due to a problem with a new car. We do want to express our sincere thanks to Allen Collen and John Millett from Renault for their help though which was invaluable.”
The final official timed test for the Formula Renault UK runners takes place at the Snetterton track in Norfolk on the 23rd and 24th March, ahead of the opening rounds at Thruxton on the 3rd and 4th April.
Photo credit: Jakob Ebrey Photography