Menasheh IdafarManor Competition drivers Menasheh Idafar and Thomas Hylkema ended the 2009 Formula Renault UK Winter Championship at Rockingham on Saturday, 7th November, split by a mere two points in the standings – Middle Eastern racer Idafar just edging the battle to finish the series third overall.

Both drivers proved to be every evenly matched during the opening two rounds at Snetterton in Norfolk and at the 1.94-mile Northamptonshire venue on Saturday, there was very little to choose once again between the team-mates.

Two top six results were enough to give 18-year-old Idafar his highly creditable third place finish in the championship while Dutchman Hylkema claimed an impressive fourth position thanks to a best result of fifth during the final race of the series, added to a top seven placing from the earlier race.

David McDonald overcame yet more horrendously bad luck to salvage a top eight series finish, seventh place in race two his highlight after being forced to miss the opening encounter due to the failure of a new wiring loom – a particular disappointment for the Manor Competition team considering the squad’s outstanding reliability all year long.

Category rookie Robert Foster-Jones, the 2009 B4/Renault MSA British Karting Champion, claimed a fine eighth place in the first race – after a similarly strong run in qualifying – but was lucky to walk away uninjured from a substantial collision with the barriers on lap five of race two.

Commenting on the winter series finale, Manor Competition co-owner Sarah Shaw said: “We’ve had a fairly successful winter campaign and we’re pleased with the progress made by all four drivers, it’s just unfortunate David has had such bad luck yet again, especially due to the failure of a new part. He undoubtedly has the pace, he’s shown that time and again, he just needs some better fortune.

“It’s been a steep learning curve for Robert but he’s done a good job this weekend and we were all very relieved to see him walk away from his race two accident without injury. It was big impact but the chassis did its job in keeping him protected.”

Shaw added: “Menasheh and Thomas carried on their close battle from Snetterton and although they were both disappointed not to be on the podium again, they raced well and were split by very little in the end. It’s clear to see all four drivers have what it takes to be strong runners in the main championship next year.”

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.