Thomas Hylkema suffered a tough weekend at Knockhill in Rounds15 and 16 of the 2010 Formula Renault UK Championship. Despite it being his first ever visit to the unique Scottish track, the Dutchman entered the weekend in a confident mood, but a poor qualifying performance and a best race result of twelfth left him disappointed, with the 22 year old dropping to 12th in the drivers standings in the process.
First up was qualifying, but with his Manor Competition team having trouble finding a good set up for their cars, Hylkema struggled to 15th on his grid, with none of his team mates faring much better.
This left him in a tricky position heading into the first of the weekend's races, but the Club Car, TORO and Geothex supported driver dug deep and worked his way up eleventh place, before his hard work came to nothing when a mistake at the Chicane on lap 24 left him in the gravel and out of the race.
In the final race, Hylkema again showed his determination to move up the order, moving up to thirteenth by half distance, though his race was about to turn sour, with the race officials serving him with a drive-through penalty after he was deemed to have passed Michael Lyons under yellow flags. A safety car soon after allowed him to catch back up to the back of the field, gaining one more place before finishing thirteenth on the road, a later disqualification for a rival David McDonald promoting him to twelfth.
Commenting on the weekend, Hylkema said: “I was really looking forward to my first visit to Knockhill but it all turned out very disappointing in the end. As a team we struggled for pace compared to the other front-runners during testing and qualifying and that put us on the back-foot to begin with. In the races, I felt happier with some changes to the car but the outcome was very disappointing.”
Next up for Hylkema is a return to Silverstone in two weeks time for the penultimate meeting of the 2010 season, where the Formula Renault's join the support package for the British round of the World Series by Renault series. Also on the package is the Eurocup Formula Renault, which will make it a family affair for the Hylkema family, with Thomas' brother Bart competing in that series.
Photo credit: Jakob Ebrey Photography