HILLSPEED RACER IDAFAR IMPRESSES DURING TWO-DAY SNETTERTON TEST Derbyshire single-seater race team Hillspeed enjoyed two very productive days of testing at a scorching hot Snetterton in Norfolk this week with Formula Renault UK driver Menasheh...
HILLSPEED RACER IDAFAR IMPRESSES DURING TWO-DAY SNETTERTON TEST
Derbyshire single-seater race team Hillspeed enjoyed two very productive days of testing at a scorching hot Snetterton in Norfolk this week with Formula Renault UK driver Menasheh Idafar and Formula Renault BARC front-runner Ahmad Al Harthy both making the most of their track time.
On Wednesday, 24th June, Idafar stunned the Michelin Formula Renault UK Championship regulars by posting the second fastest time overall and, with it, lapping quicker than he ever had before at the East Anglia circuit with a superb effort of 1m04.681 seconds (108.64mph).
Bedding in a new engine during the first of the day's four sessions, the 18-year-old then worked on his set-up with the team before taking some fresh tyres for the final outing and producing his truly outstanding time.
On day two, Thursday, 25th June, the Gulf Computer Services and Ortolan backed racer lapped with a quickest time of 1m05.133 seconds (107.88mph). His opening day best was so good though, he actually concluded the two-day run a superb sixth fastest overall on combined times.
The Formula Renault UK contingent were also joined at Snetterton yesterday by selected runners from the Formula Renault BARC Championship -- the BARC series set to contest the second and third rounds of its season this weekend, 27th/28th June.
Omani driver Ahmad Al Harthy was the sole representative from Hillspeed's Protyre Formula Renault BARC line-up taking the opportunity to get some precious mileage under his belt ahead of the second event of the 2009 BARC campaign.
The 27-year-old produced a best time of 1m08.014 seconds (103.31mph) during the second of the day's sessions and was actually the fastest of the drivers running with full BARC-specification settings during both the morning and afternoon. At least three of his chief rivals did post quicker times but it's believed they were achieved by running without the regulation engine restrictor in their cars.
Reflecting on the two-day test, team principal Richard Ollerenshaw said: "Menasheh was exceptional on the first day and to end the two days sixth fastest on combined timings is a major confidence boost for him ahead of the Silverstone GP races a week from now.
"Ahmad did a superb job too, especially considering how hot it was out there. We ploughed on with our preparations for this weekend's BARC races and were very pleased with the outcome. Some of the drivers did appear to be running without the engine restrictor so that did blur the timesheets a little but Ahmad's pace was very strong throughout the day and where we expected it to be."
Hillspeed's second Formula Renault UK competitor, Lee Dwyer, wasn't in test action this week but he is set to return to the track with team-mate Idafar at Northamptonshire's Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit next weekend, 4th/5th July, for rounds 11 and 12 of their championship.
Jeffrey to make FR BARC debut with Hillspeed this weekend Young karting talent Alexander Jeffrey will make his competitive single-seater debut at Snetterton this weekend after agreeing a Formula Renault BARC Championship race deal with Hillspeed.
The 2007 Scottish Formula Blue Karting Champion was actually a finalist last year in a three-driver shoot-out for the prestigious Racing Steps Foundation programme. Although he just missed out to reigning UK Formula Ford Champion Wayne Boyd, Jeffrey certainly impressed the judging panel.
"We're delighted to have a fourth car out there in the BARC championship this weekend", added Ollerenshaw, "It's great to have Alex on-board and we're looking forward to working with him on his car racing debut. It'll be a big challenge but we're sure he'll do a good job and progress throughout the course of the event."
Qualifying for rounds two and three of the 2009 Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship will take place at 09.25 and 12.00 respectively on Saturday, 27th June, at Snetterton with both races set to follow on Sunday, 28th June. Round two will begin at 11.25 with round three starting at 16.15.
Al Harthy is currently third in the Formula Renault BARC driver standings on 25 points after his podium finish at Oulton Park in Cheshire five weeks ago while Ellis Harkins is 12th in the standings and James Theodore is 18th place, the latter unfortunately involved in an accident during round one.