Menasheh IdafarMenasheh Idafar saw his hopes of challenging for the podium during the 10th round of the Formula Renault BARC season slip away at Thruxton Circuit in Hampshire yesterday afternoon, Sunday, 7th September – the Hillspeed driver ending the race in seventh position to maintain fourth place in the championship.

Hoping to make inroads into the top three in the FR2000 Class driver standings during the 14-lap encounter, the British-born Bahraini’s quest was handicapped during qualifying when he could only achieve the eighth fastest time, 1m 15.080 seconds (112.96mph), after being boxed in by traffic throughout the session.

Lining up for the race on the fourth row of the grid alongside Ollie Hancock, who would later be crowned 2008 Formula Renault BARC Champion, Menasheh passed Lee Dwyer on lap two to move into seventh place and then climbed into the top six on the next tour as he continued his excellent progress.

On lap four, the Hillspeed racer gained another position to move into the top five but with lap times at the front all very evenly matched it would prove difficult to make inroads on the podium places.

Running line astern with team-mate Ahmad Al Harthy at the midway point of the race, with the Omani in fourth place and Menasheh in fifth, the Ortolan, Gulfol and Gulf Computer Services supported driver had an unfortunate spin.

He did manage to fight back into seventh before the chequered flag though to take four championship points which could be crucial with just two more rounds remaining of the 2008 season. As it stands following the Thruxton race, Menasheh is 10 points shy of the coveted top three in the headline FR2000 Class standings on overall scores.

“Unfortunately we didn’t find the space we needed in qualifying so we ended up much further down the grid than we expected”, said the 17-year-old, “We definitely had the pace to be on the front row so that was a shame. In the race it went quite well for the first half but after my spin we had to be happy with seventh place.”

Hillspeed team principal Richard Ollerenshaw added: “Menasheh did thoroughly enjoy the race but he was disappointed not to achieve more with the pace he had. It was a fairly frustrating day but with two rounds still to go next month, Menasheh does have a chance to end the year in the championship top three – that’s our aim and focus.”

Rounds 11 and 12 of the 2008 Formula Renault BARC Championship, the final race meeting of the season, will take place at Northamptonshire’s Silverstone National Circuit four weeks from now over the weekend 4th/5th October.

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.