Hillspeed’s Menasheh Idafar enjoyed a positive start to the fourth event of the 2009 Michelin Formula Renault UK Championship at Oulton Park today, Friday, 29th May, by ending the official test session 12th overall on combined times.
Posting his best lap of the day, 1m19.683 seconds (100.56mph), during this afternoon’s 40-minute run, the Gulf Computer Services and Ortolan backed driver concluded the pre-event practice just nine 10ths of a second shy of the top of the timesheets. He was also the fourth fastest of the 12 competitors eligible for the Graduate Cup.
When everyone ran on used tyres, Menasheh was actually fifth quickest and looked set to challenge for a top six placing. He didn’t get chance to run on fresh rubber though as, during his first lap out of the pits with new tyres, the session was brought to an early conclusion due to a rival going off track.
During this morning’s opening session, Menasheh lapped with a best time of 1m20.664 seconds (99.34mph) as the team worked on set-up variations ahead of the seventh and eighth rounds of the championship. Improving by a full second in the afternoon, the 18-year-old heads into the weekend’s action aiming to continue his strong qualifying form and convert it into good race results.
Speaking after the test, Hillspeed’s Richard Ollerenshaw said: “Menasheh showed very good pace this afternoon, he was fifth fastest when the playing field was level and looked very strong indeed. Unfortunately though, before he had chance to put some mileage on used tyres and improve his time further, the red flags were shown so we’re actually a bit disappointed with the end result.
“We’re looking forward to the weekend with a positive frame of mind though, the test went well up until the new tyre run. Qualifying has been pretty good for us so far this year so we intend to continue that this weekend but back it up with some consistent race results.”
Round seven qualifying will take place at Oulton Park’s Island Circuit at 11.00 tomorrow, Saturday, 30th May, with the round eight session following at 15.20. Both races will be held on Sunday, 31st May, with the first encounter getting underway at around 12.55 and the second beginning at 17.50.
The first of the weekend’s Michelin Formula Renault UK Championship races will also be screened live across the UK on ITV4 on Sunday afternoon – Freeview channel 28, cable channel 117 and Sky Digital channel 120.