Gulf Computer Services and Ortolan backed racer Menasheh Idafar had a bittersweet experience at Oulton Park in Cheshire over the weekend, 30th/31st May, after bouncing back from a difficult run in qualifying to secure a fighting top 15 comeback drive in the seventh round of the season.
The Hillspeed driver, who couldn’t quite put together the qualifying performance he wanted on Saturday at the 2.23-mile Island Circuit, started the first of Sunday’s races an uncharacteristic 22nd on the grid and was lucky not to be taken out on the opening lap when contact at Island Bend forced him off the track.
Rejoining down the order, Menasheh fought his way back brilliantly into 18th place by lap 13 and he then gained another position on the following tour to edge ahead of team-mate Lee Dwyer. After the race, the 18-year-old was promoted into 15th place when former Formula Renault BARC rival Ollie Hancock and Dean Stoneman were both handed time penalties by officials.
Although disappointed to have been placed on the back foot on the first lap of the weekend’s opening race, Menasheh did drive well during his recovery through the order, especially as he had some problems with his steering following the contact at the hairpin.
For round eight, Menasheh started an improved 18th on the grid but his involvement in the race came to an end on lap three when contact to the rear of his car as he exited The Avenue pitched him into a spin and retirement at Dentons.
Having started the weekend very well indeed during Friday’s practice sessions, Menasheh was hoping to battle for a brace of top 10 finishes but it wasn’t to be. He now takes that aim on to the ninth and 10th rounds of the season which will take place at Croft in North Yorkshire in two weeks.
Looking back on the Oulton Park weekend, Hillspeed team boss Richard Ollerenshaw said: “We’re all disappointed with the outcome as we had good pace on Friday but qualifying was where everything went wrong for us. Salvaging a 15th place after the contact on lap one in the first race was a good drive by Menasheh and he should be pleased with it.
“Race two was simply a racing incident, he was battling with Ryan Singleton as they headed towards Cascades but was then tagged from behind by another car which forced him out of the race. The weekend was exceptionally hot and it was the first time Menasheh had driven a Formula Renault UK car in those conditions so the experience will have served him well.”
Menasheh’s next track action will come at Croft Circuit, near Darlington in North Yorkshire, two weeks from now over the weekend 13th/14th June.