Dwyer Idafar

Hillspeed’s Michelin Formula Renault UK Championship squad had a trying time at Oulton Park Island Circuit over the weekend, 30th/31st May, when a luckless qualifying run hampered the chances of Lee Dwyer and Menasheh Idafar during rounds seven and eight of the season.

Arriving at the Cheshire track on Saturday morning in buoyant mood after a good test day on Friday, the Hathersage based team’s drivers weren’t able to replicate the same level of pace in the scorching hot weather and ended the two 20-minute sessions disappointed with the outcome.

Nonetheless, a brace of strong drives into the midfield from Huddersfield teenager Dwyer and a solid top 15 finish for 18-year-old Idafar in the first of the weekend’s races – after being forced off track at Island Bend on lap one – did give the outfit a more positive conclusion to the fourth race meeting of the campaign.

Lining up an uncharacteristic 22nd and 23rd on the grid respectively, Idafar and Dwyer both climbed through the order well and took the chequered flag in the same order in 17th and 18th place, around two seconds apart. Post-race, Ollie Hancock and Dean Stoneman both received time penalties and so the Hillspeed team-mates were lifted up the finishing order into 15th and 16th position.

In round eight, Idafar – who qualified an improved 18th on the grid – was very unlucky to get caught up in a racing incident at Dentons on lap three and after receiving a tap to the rear of his car, his Formula Renault spun rearward into the barriers and an immediate retirement.

Dwyer, meanwhile, mounted a terrific climb through the order from 22nd at the start through to 15th place at the finish and sixth in the Graduate Cup. While the weekend’s results weren’t what the team had hoped for, team principal Richard Ollerenshaw remains positive ahead of the next race meeting a fortnight from now.

He said: “Obviously we’re disappointed with the way the weekend turned out as we had shown good pace in testing and looked well placed for some good results. Qualifying didn’t work out for us but for Menasheh to take a top 15 finish in the first race, after being forced out at the hairpin on lap one, was a great effort. In race two he was just very unlucky, it was a racing incident.

“This weekend was the first time Menasheh and Lee have driven a Formula Renault UK car in such hot conditions, the track temperature was around 35 degrees on Saturday and Sunday but that’s good experience they can now call on in the future. For Lee to go from 23rd to 16th in race one and then 22nd to 15th in race two shows two very solid performances which he should be pleased with.”

Hillspeed’s next track action will come on 13th/14th June at Croft Circuit in North Yorkshire for the ninth and 10th rounds of the 2009 Michelin Formula Renault UK Championship.

Provisional 2009 Formula Renault UK Driver Standings (after Rd8):
16th Lee Dwyer, 50pts; 21st Menasheh Idafar, 35pts

Provisional 2009 Formula Renault UK ‘Graduate Cup’ Standings (after Rd8):
4th Lee Dwyer, 50pts; 8th Menasheh Idafar, 35pts

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.