UK: Hillspeed Thruxton race one report

DWYER & IDAFAR BAG SOLID POINTS FOR HILLSPEED AT THRUXTON Michelin Formula Renault UK Championship rookies Lee Dwyer and Menasheh Idafar produced another sterling performance for Hillspeed during the third round of the season at Thruxton Circuit...

DWYER & IDAFAR BAG SOLID POINTS FOR HILLSPEED AT THRUXTON

Michelin Formula Renault UK Championship rookies Lee Dwyer and Menasheh Idafar produced another sterling performance for Hillspeed during the third round of the season at Thruxton Circuit yesterday, Saturday, 25th April, recording ninth and 11th place finishes respectively.

The teenage duo, who both had an incident-packed race, shot up the championship standings by virtue of their latest points hauls with Huddersfield-based Dwyer rising five places up the overall driver standings into 14th position and Idafar climbing four spots into 13th. In the Graduate Cup rankings, Idafar is fifth, two points ahead of his sixth-placed team-mate.

Round three qualifying went well for Idafar in particular who posted a superb top six time of 1m 15.197 seconds (112.79mph), the second highest Graduate Cup runner, while Dwyer just missed out on the top 10 by the slimmest of margins -- 0.054 seconds to be precise -- to qualify in 11th position on a drying track following earlier rain.

At the start of the race, which took place on a completely dry track but in windy conditions, both Hillspeed drivers enjoyed a good getaway but Idafar lost four places towards the end of the opening lap when confusion arose surrounding the placement of Safety Car boards.

With the Safety Car waiting to pick up the field at the start of the second tour following an incident at the complex, cautionary boards were shown at Woodham Hill prior to the end of the lap as per the latest regulations. As the car ahead slowed, so did Idafar but four cars behind passed the pair on the run into the chicane.

Dropping Idafar to 13th place, when the race re-started on lap eight he pushed hard to try and reclaim a top 10 but had to settle for a nonetheless welcome 11th place finish on lap 19, the fifth highest placed rookie competitor.

Dwyer, meanwhile, managed to make his way into ninth place having run in 12th at the re-start and was the fourth best Graduate, just over a second shy of experienced Formula Renault UK racer Jordan Oakes. The latter had made contact with Dwyer's car as the pair battled for position but rather than risk any potential problems, the Hillspeed man chose to settle for ninth place.

Team principal Richard Ollerenshaw said: "Obviously I'm very pleased to see both cars around the top 10 picking up good points but it could have been more. We're very disappointed that despite recent updates regarding Safety Car procedure, several drivers did not heed the yellow flags at the marshal post on Woodham Hill.

"Drivers are supposed to race to the first yellow flag now, not to the start/finish line. Menasheh did exactly as he was taught and as he was supposed to by observing the boards immediately at Woodham Hill and he lost places because of that which wasn't really fair. He ran well though, qualified very well in sixth place, and we're happy with another good points score."

Ollerenshaw added: "Lee did an exceptional job but he was unfortunately tagged by (Jordan) Oakes when he had passed him so from that point on Lee didn't feel he wanted to push the car to full race pace in order to bring it home safely inside the top 10. It was certainly the sensible thing to do to take the points rather than risk a potential mechanical failure."

Hillspeed's combined points tally for both drivers stands at 44 after round three, placing the squad as the seventh highest entrant ahead of Sunday afternoon's fourth Michelin Formula Renault UK Championship race of the season. For this afternoon's outing Dwyer will line-up eighth on the grid, the second highest Graduate, with Idafar in 12th place, the third fastest of the rookie drivers.

Round four is timetabled to get underway at 15.20 today, Sunday, 26th April, and will be screened live on ITV4 as part of the channel's afternoon broadcast from Thruxton. The race can be followed at channel 28 on Freeview, channel 117 on cable and channel 120 on Sky Digital.

-credit: hillspeed.co.uk

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Series Formula Renault