Manor Competition's Dutch star Thomas Hylkema is all set for a positive weekend during the opening rounds of the 2010 Formula Renault UK Championship, which will take place at Thruxton, Hampshire this weekend.
21 year old Hylkema is returning for his second season with the 2009 Champions, having driven for them during the 2009 season, then the Formula Renault Winter Series.
The Dutch driver from Delft has been consistently running inside the top 10 during the official timed pre season tests and had another successful test at the 1.96 mile Snetterton track in Norfolk.
During the opening day of running, Hylkema finished the day 11th on combined times, having set a best time of 1m04.912s, an improvement of a second compared to his best time from the morning session.
The final day of the pre season running saw Hylkema set times which placed him in and around the top 10 on two occasions. The final day saw the Formula Renault test split into 4 sessions, and his best time of a 1m05.435s saw him finish 11th in the days timings, just under a second slower than the fastest lap of the day. Hylkema's best time came during the first of the afternoon sessions. Hylkema also completed all his runs on used tyres on the final day.
Combined times for the two days saw the Dutch driver, who is backed by TORO and Club-car finish in 11th overall; his time from the opening day being his best time. This time was within eight tenths of a second of the pace setting time of team mate Will Stevens.
Speaking after the Snetterton test, Hylkema said: “It was a bit harder than the other tests, generally I expected a bit more from the two days but we improved throughout and did some good work with the set-up. We didn't get a chance to use new tyres on the second day as it started to rain before our planned run but that at least gave us some good experience to learn about the rain tyre. Overall it was a productive two days.”
Looking ahead to Thruxton, Hylkema is looking for a brace of strong results to get his campaign underway, and he said: “Obviously I want to qualify in the top 10 for both races and be as near to the front of the grid as I possibly can, I think that's a realistic goal.”
”Qualifying was where I struggled last season but if I can get that right, in the races we should be ok. Ideally, we need two finishes in the top six or top eight – that'll be my aim and if we can achieve that I'll be very happy.”
The first timed session of the season will take place during the free practice day on the 2nd April, with the first qualifying session at 9am on the 3rd April, the Saturday, qualifying for race 2 will take place later on the Saturday.
Hylkema's first race of the season will start at 17.35 on the Saturday; race 2 will be televised on ITV 4 on Sunday, with the race due to start at 15.05.