Michelin Formula Renault UK racer Menasheh Idafar endured a highly frustrating fourth round of the 2009 season at Thruxton Circuit in Hampshire this afternoon, Sunday, 26th April, but still managed to maintain a top 15 position in the driver standings.
Lining up 12th on the grid after qualifying just over half a second shy of pole position with a time of 1m 11.355 seconds (118.86mph) on Saturday, Menasheh ran solidly in the first half dozen positions during the opening tour but slipped a handful of places after a slight moment on lap two.
Battling around the top 15 through mid-distance, the Hillspeed racer moved into 14th place on lap 11 but then had a huge spin when going through the ultra-fast back section of the 2.355-mile track the next time around.
Fighting hard in a tight group including Tama’s Pa’l Kiss, Thomas Hylkema, Dean Smith and David McDonald, Menasheh looked to go around the outside at Goodwood Corner but his left rear wheel just edged onto the grass and pitched his 2.0-litre single-seater into a major spin.
Luckily emerging unscathed, the 18-year-old was able to rejoin the race at the back of the field but managed to salvage a championship point on the final lap from fellow Graduate Cup runner Will Stevens who himself had a costly spin.
Menasheh’s race pace was certainly good enough to secure a top 10 finish during this afternoon’s encounter, underlining his undoubted progress, but attention now turns to the two-day official championship test which is scheduled for 6th/7th May at Croft Circuit in North Yorkshire.
Speaking on today’s action, Hillspeed team boss Richard Ollerenshaw said: “We were impressed his weekend with the improvement Menasheh has shown in his racecraft. His pace was good, certainly good enough for two top 10 finishes, but he took a gamble in today’s race and it didn’t pay off.
“It’s still very early in the season but Menasheh is showing good speed and he’s learning all of the time. He was racing wheel-to-wheel with some very good drivers this afternoon and that can only be good for his experience.”
The fifth and sixth rounds of the 2009 Michelin Formula Renault UK Championship are scheduled to take place three weeks from now over the weekend 16th/17th May. Before then, Menasheh will take part in the two days of official testing at Croft Circuit in North Yorkshire on Wednesday, 6th May, and Thursday, 7th May.