Formula Renault BARC Championship racer Menasheh Idafar made a welcome return into the points at Snetterton Circuit in Norfolk this afternoon, Saturday, 9th August, to remain firmly in the battle for the runner-up spot in the driver standings with just three races now remaining in the 2008 season.
Two contrasting encounters weather-wise made things very tricky for the drivers and teams today but through it all, 17-year-old Menasheh emerged with a solid fourth place finish in round eight before shadowing Omani team-mate Ahmad Al Harthy home in round nine to achieve a seventh place result.
However, following the conclusion of scrutineering checks on the highest placed cars at the end of round nine, Ross Curnow was excluded from third meaning Menasheh is now credited with a top six result to go with his earlier fourth place. In the driver standings, this means the British-born Bahraini now has 61 points and is in the top four.
“I’m happy we scored well in both races, especially in the second one as the rain was bad and it was very difficult not to make a mistake”, said Menasheh, “We didn’t quite get the lap times we wanted in qualifying because of stoppages but it’s not been a bad day and we’re only 10 points away from second place in the championship.”
During this morning’s 20-minute qualifying session, the Hillspeed driver saw both of his quickest laps compromised due to the emergence of red flags so he had to be satisfied with a pair of second row starts having posted the fourth fastest time of 1m 08.186 seconds (103.05mph) and a second fastest lap of 1m 08.216 seconds.
Round eight took place in dry conditions, although the threat of light rain did hang in the air throughout, and saw Menasheh end the race in fourth position after duelling with third placed Ross Curnow for the majority of the encounter. Pressuring experienced single-seater campaigner Curnow from lap four onward, he couldn’t quite find a way past.
Red flags brought the race to a premature end three laps before the scheduled finish due to an accident involving Nathan Coulter and Brett Parris, so the result was declared after 10 racing laps on count-back.
Persistent rainfall during the three hours leading up to the ninth round of the campaign made track conditions very treacherous indeed and to finish the race inside the top 10 points-paying positions would be the chief aim.
The race was red flagged on lap three due to a car off the circuit and so, having slipped to seventh position during the first couple of laps, Menasheh would take the re-start from the fourth row of the grid.
Sensibly taking things cautiously, the Gulf Computer Services, Ortolan and Gulfol backed racer did lose some ground early on but as he started to gain more and more confidence, he fought his way back through into a top seven finish. This, of course, then became sixth position with the removal of Curnow from the race result.
Hillspeed team boss Richard Ollerenshaw commented: “We’re very pleased Menasheh managed to score some good points today after a particularly difficult time at Croft last month, he needed to get a couple of good finishes under his belt again and now he has we’ll hopefully be back on form at Thruxton a month from now.”
There is now a four-week break in the Formula Renault BARC calendar with round 10 of the 2008 season scheduled to take place on Sunday, 7th September, at Thruxton Circuit in Hampshire.