Manor Competitions Dutch star Thomas Hylkema is looking to claim his first podium finish in the Formula Renault UK Championship when the series heads to Rockingham for rounds three and four of the season.
For twenty one year old Hylkema, Rockingham last year saw him record his best results of the season and is heading there in 2010 on the back of a Thruxton weekend which showed a lot of promise but not the Championship points to back up the speed and potential.
Leaving Thruxton, Hylkema is currently joint tenth in the Championship after recording a double twelfth place finish round the high speed Thruxton airfield circuit.
The Rockingham weekend will signal the first time the new Formula Renault cars will race at a venue where they have had a test, and the twenty one year old Dutch star is confident that his experience and the improving speed that he is showing will lead him to a maiden podium finish, as he explains: “I am quite confident looking ahead to Rockingham, we're back at a track for the first time where we actually tested the new car pre-season and my aim is to equal the best pace I showed at Thruxton, If I am able to do that, and we don't have any bad luck, then I'm hopeful we can convert that pace into a podium.
“I like the heavy braking at Rockingham but it's a track where you're not really able to build too much momentum – unlike Thruxton. It's very hard to set-up the car well, you have to compromise for the twisty middle section and the fast corners, but I know the team will do a great job.”
Hylkema then went on to add: “Last year at Rockingham we were really strong and I took my best finish of the season with a very competitive top six result. I know we can be quick there again this year and the top three is definitely my aim. If I can equal my pace from last year, I'll be happy, but I want a podium and that's what I'll be pushing for.”
Hylkema will start the Rockingham weekend with pre event tests on the 23 April, with qualifying for the two races taking place at 10.15 and 14.45 on the 24 April. Race one of the weekend, round three of the season will start at 10.35 with round four starting at 15.55 on the 25 April, the Sunday.