Bart HylkemaBart Hylkema, the dominant force in the Rookie Class of the 2011 Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series, sealed a clean sweep of victories during the second event of the season at Oulton Park over the weekend, 23rd-25th April.

Regarded as perhaps the most challenging track in the UK, the 2.69-mile International Circuit played host to rounds four, five and six across the Easter Weekend and the 21-year-old Dutchman increased his lead in the Rookie standings to a huge 58 points after just six races.

Added to the three wins he took at Monza in Italy a week previously, Bart – who is backed by Geothex, TORO, Club Car, Ditch Witch and Annika Schultz Communications – maintained his 100 per cent record since graduating to F3 – a fantastic start to this chapter of his racing career.

During qualifying on Saturday, 23rd April, the Delft-based driver steered his Mugen-Honda powered Dallara F307 to clear pole positions for rounds four and six and his victory from the opening race also gave him the class pole for round five.

In the first race on Saturday afternoon, Bart got boxed-in behind class rival Kotaro Sakurai and repeated attempts to fairly pass the Japanese driver were abruptly rebuffed. Clearly the much quicker of the two, Bart was frustrated but maintained his composure well and on lap five managed to safely negotiate him to take the class lead.

Immediately pulling clear, he was then able to display his true pace and within just a couple of laps of the rollercoaster-like International Circuit he was almost four seconds to the good. In the end, Bart finished well over half a minute clear of Sakurai and comfortably took the fastest lap in class.

In round two, his start was much better and Bart was able to latch on to the tail of the International Class competitors ahead. He opted to concentrate on claiming maximum points for another class win and fastest lap though, rather than get caught up in a potential incident with the quicker cars.

Planning to adopt a similarly sensible approach to round six, the Eurocup Formula Renault graduate had to over-turn Sakurai again. Pressuring him consistently over the first half dozen laps, Bart got ahead at the end of the seventh tour at Lodge Corner and once again posted the fastest lap – some 1.2 seconds better than Sakurai’s quickest.

“It’s been a good weekend again”, said Bart, “In the first race I had a really bad start – I nearly stalled – so I lost some places and got stuck behind (Kotaru) Sakurai. It was hard work to get by without any problems but I managed it after a few laps. Winning both races on Monday was a great way to finish the weekend so now we look forward to the next round where we aim to make more progress.”

There is now a three week break in the 2011 Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series race calendar with rounds even, eight and nine of the campaign scheduled to take place on 14th/15th May at the Snetterton 300 Circuit in the east of England.

Provisional 2011 Cooper Tires British F3 International Series ‘Rookie Class’ Standings:
1st Bart Hylkema, 88pts

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.