Hillspeed's Menasheh IdafarLeading Formula Renault UK Championship squad Hillspeed concluded the seventh race meeting of the 2009 season at the weekend, 1st/2nd August, happy with the performance displayed by category rookie Menasheh Idafar as the British-born Bahraini secured his fourth top 15 result of the year.

In the most competitive Formula Renault UK campaign for a number of seasons, the 18-year-old driver has been working hard with his Hathersage based team to move towards consistent top 10 finishes and raced well at Snetterton, particularly in the second of the weekend’s outings on Sunday.

While qualifying didn’t result in the sort of lap times expected by team and driver, in race conditions Idafar delivered strong performances with the highlight undoubtedly his involvement in a five car battle over the top 14 in race two which was televised live on ITV4.

Lining up 18th on the grid for round 14, Idafar did well to avoid a multi-car collision at the Esses on the opening tour and concluded the lap in 17th position before the Safety Car was deployed to clear away the stricken single-seaters.

Following a four lap Safety Car period, racing resumed at the beginning of the sixth tour and as the action moved towards mid-distance Idafar’s midfield battle started to hot up. Passing experienced Formula Renault UK driver Tom Armour on lap 15, Idafar then pressured Hungarian Tama’s Pa’l Kiss all the way to the finish.

The race was scheduled to run to 21 laps due to the earlier Safety Car intervention but an incident involving Alice Powell and Fredrik Blomstedt on lap 18 brought out the red flags. The result was therefore taken back to lap 16 and with Powell and Blomstedt out of the classification, Idafar was credited with a 14th place finish. His lap times were impressive too with his quickest of 1m06.170 seconds just six 10ths of a second shy of race winner Dean Stoneman’s best.

In the earlier 13th round of the season, the Hillspeed teenager ended the encounter in 18th place behind Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit race winner Josh Scott. Earning him three championship points, to add to the seven he achieved in round 14, Idafar remains in eighth place in the Graduate Cup class standings and just one point shy of the overall championship top 20.

Commenting on the weekend, team boss Richard Ollerenshaw said: “Menasheh raced well, didn’t pick up any damage and scored points in both races so with that in mind we’re pleased. He produced some good, clean overtaking moves which were very encouraging but we do feel the weekend was a bit of a missed opportunity as we had the potential to challenge for more.”

Next on the 2009 Michelin Formula Renault UK Championship race calendar is a return to Silverstone in Northamptonshire for rounds 15 and 16 of the season over the weekend 29th/30th August at the track’s short National Circuit.

Hillspeed will, however, be back in action next weekend, 8th/9th August, at Donington Park National Circuit in Leicestershire for the sixth and seventh rounds of the Formula Renault BARC season. The eighth and ninth rounds will then follow a fortnight later, 22nd/23rd August, at Brands Hatch in Kent.

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.