Thomas Hylkema produced a strong performance for Manor Racing in the final GP3 series test of the year at Jerez in Spain this week. The Dutchman made his debut in the car during the Estoril test last week and built on that experience to set some respectable lap times on his first trip to the Spanish circuit.
The 22 year old spent the first day of the test reacquainting himself with the car and learning the circuit, before upping the pace during the final two days. His best time on the second day put him 14th fastest out of the 30 competitors, within just 0.3 seconds of Manor's fastest driver. He set his best time of the test on the final day, a lap of 1m35.545 seconds, just 0.8 seconds off the top of the timesheets.
Reflecting on the test, Thomas said: “It's been a great test, the aim was to be up in the first half of the field and we managed to do that pretty consistently over the last two days. The nature of the track is different to that of Estoril, there are more quick corners at Jerez, so I spent most of the first day learning the circuit and the car still.
“We steadily improved and then on Thursday we had some very good runs on old tyres, our pace was good and most of the time I was only three or four 10ths of a second away from the quickest Manor car. I managed to match my team-mates occasionally and sometimes be faster too so that felt great.”
He added: “We did some good set-up work, the team was really professional as always, and I really feel I've got to grips quite well with the car. I'm very happy with what we achieved. I'm there in the mid-pack, so now I need to work hard on my fitness over the winter ahead of the new season.”