Manor Competition's Thomas Hylkema and Josh Mulholland showed glimpses of potential during a tough opening weekend of the 2010 Formula Renault UK Championship at Thruxton, Hampshire.
The team, sporting a brand new livery which reflects the outfits association with the Virgin Racing Formula One Team saw Dutchman Hylkema qualify fifth for the second race and spend the opening lap dicing with Harry Tincknell, before being forced onto the grass to avoid contact with the CRS Racing driver.
The grassy moment caused the Delft based racer to drop down the field to seventh; soon he was back in the top six before another spin at the Complex pushed the Manor Competition driver down to sixteenth position. The recovery drive showed Hylkema’s potential as he fought his way back up to twelfth position – matching his result from the opening race of the season, held in the wet.
Northern Ireland's Mulholland showed his potential amid a weekend filled with unfortunate problems for the twenty year old Formula Renault UK debutant.
Having qualified in thirteenth position for the second race of the weekend, Mulholland damaged the underside of his car on one of the unforgiving Thruxton kerbs and this hampered the County Antrim racer's progress and he crossed the finishing line down in eighteenth position.
The opening race of the season didn't go to plan for the rookie either as he was taken out at the Complex on the opening lap by another debutant, Fabio Gamberini. The pace shown by Mulholland on his debut has given the youngster hope for the season, starting with Rockingham on the 24/25 April.
Speaking after the races, Tony Shaw said: “As ever this weekend has been a great team effort, everyone has worked incredibly hard since we arrived at the track on Thursday. To take a one-two finish and a couple of pole positions is a fantastic way to start the new season. Thomas, and especially Josh, had some bad luck but on balance it's been a very positive weekend.
“Race two was the first bone-dry session we'd had so we got our heads together to make sure we weren't too cautious or too aggressive with the set-up, Sarah (Shaw) deserves all of the credit for the decision we took. Will and Lewis were mighty and they'll certain push each other on all season. We did have the chance of a Manor one, two, three in race two as Thomas' pace was very impressive.
“Josh had terrible luck in both races so he wasn't able to show his true pace, there was nothing he could do in race one when taken out at the complex and then in race two he picked up some major damage to the underside of the car which resulted in a significant loss in lap times.”
Tony and Sarah Shaw would also like to thank Ed and Verity from the Cricketers Arms in Tangley for their superb hospitality over the Thruxton weekend.
Photo credit: Jakob Ebrey Photography