FORMULA RENAULT UK SQUAD HILLSPEED PLEASED WITH ROCKINGHAM TEST Hathersage based Formula Renault UK Championship team Hillspeed has declared itself happy with its progress following this week's first officially timed test of the 2009 pre-season...
FORMULA RENAULT UK SQUAD HILLSPEED PLEASED WITH ROCKINGHAM TEST
Hathersage based Formula Renault UK Championship team Hillspeed has declared itself happy with its progress following this week's first officially timed test of the 2009 pre-season at Rockingham.
Richard Ollerenshaw's squad, which will field two cars in Formula Renault UK this year on its return to the British Touring Car Championship-supporting category, took part in official testing on Tuesday, 24th February, and Wednesday, 25th February, with Menasheh Idafar and Michael Lyons.
On day one at the Northamptonshire venue, 17-year-old Idafar lapped with the ninth fastest time -- and fourth quickest of the championship newcomers eligible to challenge for the 2009 Graduate Cup -- during the morning session with a best of 1m 16.748 seconds (90.99mph).
In the afternoon he wasn't able to better his time but on Wednesday the British-born Bahraini improved by seven 10ths of a second to post a time of 1m 16.027 seconds (91.86mph). He looked set to go even quicker during the final session of the two-day run but a small accident ended his involvement early.
Essex 18-year-old Lyons, like Idafar a contender not only in the full Formula Renault UK title race but also in the 'Graduate Cup' for series rookies, lapped with a best time of 1m 17.792 seconds (89.77mph) on Tuesday morning to end the session just half a second shy of experienced Formula Renault UK competitor Kris Loane.
On Wednesday, in similar dry and cool conditions, Lyons improved his time by over a second with a lap of 1m 16.731 seconds (91.01mph) during the afternoon. The reigning Historic Formula Ford Champion is now looking ahead to making further steps forward next week during the second official test of the pre-season at the closest track to his home in Felsted, Brands Hatch Indy Circuit.
"The final standings from the last couple of days don't necessarily represent a great deal as lots of drivers were using plenty of new tyres so it's not a truly even picture", commented Hillspeed's team principal Richard Ollerenshaw, "We're concentrating on our own programme and over the last couple of days we've certainly made good progress with our settings and the feel of the cars.
"I'm very pleased with the hard work both Mick and Menasheh have put in this week. We're pushing forward with improvements each time we go out as both drivers only have limited experience of the 2008 car. There's no question they'll continue to find time throughout the pre-season and now we're looking ahead to Brands Hatch next week and another promising run."
Hillspeed's lead Formula Renault BARC contender Ahmad Al Harthy also took part in the first day of the official Formula Renault UK test at the wheel of his BARC specification FR 2.0 car and impressed with a quickest lap of 1m 18.972 seconds (88.43mph). Solidifying his position as a true Formula Renault BARC title contender in 2009, Al Harthy was in terrific form.
The next team outing will come with reigning Formula Renault BARC Winter Champion James Theodore at Silverstone National Circuit tomorrow, Friday, 27th February. Idafar and Lyons will be back behind the wheel of their UK specification cars on 3rd/4th March at Brands Hatch Indy Circuit, Kent.