Manor Competition's Dutch driver Thomas Hylkema showed the team that he has the potential to challenge at the front of the grid after another strong showing during the two day test at the Rockingham Motor Speedway in Northamptonshire.
21 year old Hylkema, who is entering his second season with the team, has been consistently quick throughout the pre season testing and the 2 day test round the 1.94 mile track was no different.
Hylkema's best time was set during the final session of the 2 day test, on the Tuesday, a time which put him safely inside the top 10 on combined times and within 0.715s of the ultimate fastest time from the 2 days. Hylkema's best time was a 1m15.342s.
The opening day of the test wasn't that productive for the Aerospace Engineering student from Delft in the Netherlands as a number of mechanical woes limited the track time available, and Hylkema ended up not being able to do a run on new tyres.
The second day of testing, the Tuesday, saw the TORO and Club Car sponsored racer have a productive day, and as the day progressed, saw his times come down and become more and more competitive.
Speaking after the 2 day test, Hylkema commented on how it went: “We lost a lot of time on Monday due to some technical issues with the car so I wasn't able to complete as many laps as we planned, plus we didn't have the opportunity to run on newer tyres”, said Thomas, “On Tuesday though everything was much better for me and we managed to get a lot of work done, I learned a lot and it was a very positive way to end the test.
“I was very happy to be in the top eight on the second morning but I knew there was still time to be found so I worked really hard in the afternoon to try and find those extra 10ths of a second. I'm really pleased with the way things turned out in the end, being seventh in the final session when everyone ran on new tyres was good, but I also know it could have been better still.”
The final pre season test occurs at Snetterton, Norfolk on the 23rd and 24th March, ahead of the opening rounds at Thruxton, Hampshire on the 3rd and 4th April, in support of the British Touring Car Championship.
Photo credit: Jakob Ebrey Photography