Manor Competition has continued their strong pre season testing form after this week's single day test at Silverstone.
The team, who have signed Will Stevens (Oxshott), Lewis Williamson (Golspie), Thomas Hylkema (Delft) and Formula Renault UK Graduate Josh Mulholland (Randalstown) for their 2010 campaign all secured top 10 times during the test.
During the morning session, Williamson set the third fastest time of the session, just edging out Williamson – 53.751 seconds for Williamson compared to a 53.950 for Stevens.
Hylkema and Mulholland were also close in the opening session, with the Northern Ireland youngster edging out his Dutch team mate by a tenth of a second, 54.640s compared to Hylkema's best time of 54.761 seconds.
The afternoon session saw Stevens and Williamson improve their times, with Williamson setting the second quickest time and Stevens the third best time – 53.401s for Williamson compared to a 53.432 for Stevens, and both their times were within half a tenth of the fastest time of the day.
For Mulholland and Hylkema, their times also improved and the team mates couldn't be separated as they finished the day 9th and 10th fastest, Mulholland being within a tenth of a second of the top 4 drivers.
The afternoon session saw a seven tenths of a second improvement for Hylkema, compared to the morning session. Hylkema reflected on his test: “All in all this week's test was good, I learned more about the car and although we ran on old tyres for most of the day we were still pretty close to the guys on fresher rubber, The morning session was a bit more difficult in terms of lap times as I ran on some very old tyres from last week's test at Brands Hatch, but I wanted to work on my set-up and learn more about the car.
“After lunch we did have a small clutch problem but after that we went faster even though we were still on old tyres. On a newer set of the Brands Hatch tyres we went third fastest and then did some more set-up work so others were able to go quicker. We had problems with traffic during my new tyre run at the end, which was unfortunate, but it was still a strong day for us so I'm very pleased.”
Speaking afterwards, Mulholland reflected on his progress: “This has been a real boost for me, especially with all of the problems we've had with the car since testing began, Brands Hatch last week was very tough but during the second session today we were finally able to get a run of consistent laps. The end result shows we weren't all that far away from the top guys.
“Considering the lack of running I've had compared to most of the others, I'm very pleased with the outcome. To be just ahead of Thomas (Hylkema) was great and to be within a 10th of a second of the top four shows we did a good job and have made progress. The team has been working hard to get the issues with the car resolved so hopefully the Rockingham test next week will go smoothly.”
The teams co-owner, Sarah Shaw is pleased with the progress after the test: “We're very pleased to have pretty much continued where we left off at Brands Hatch last week, We're all still learning more and more about the new car with every lap but to have ended the Silverstone test with all four drivers in the top 10 – and two of them in the top three – is a great team result and just reward for everyone's hard work.”
The team will look to continue their strong start to the season at the next test at the Rockingham Motor Speedway, on the International Super Sports Car circuit, the host of the 3rd and 4th rounds of the 2010 Formula Renault UK Championship, the opening rounds of the 2010 Formula Renault UK Championship occur at the high speed Thruxton circuit in Hampshire, on the 3rd and 4th April.
Photo credit: Jakob Ebrey Photography