Menasheh Idafar made a truly outstanding start to his 2008 Formula Renault BARC Championship pre-season preparations at Rockingham Motor Speedway yesterday, Tuesday, 26th February, the 16-year-old producing stunning pace during his first ever test at the Northamptonshire track.
The British born Bahraini racer, who will be backed throughout the coming year by Gulf Computer Services, lubricant firm Gulfol and steel fabrication company Ortolan, joined Hillspeed team-mates Ahmad Al Harthy and Michael Lyons at Rockingham to take part in the officially sanctioned Renault Sport UK test day.
Having been out of his single-seater race car since the four-round Winter Championship last November, Menasheh showed no signs of rust whatsoever as he lapped with terrific speed and incredible consistency to emerge as the dominant BARC class driver.
Most impressive was the fact Menasheh lapped within a 10th of a second of BARC rivals who were running without the engine restrictor they will need to use on their cars when the championship begins at Brands Hatch Indy Circuit in Kent on Easter weekend.
Making breath-taking progress ahead of his second full season of competition in the UK, Menasheh can’t wait to continue the momentum during his next test outing which will come at Silverstone National Circuit this Friday, 29th February.
Commenting on yesterday's test, Hillspeed driver coach and British Racing Drivers’ Club (BRDC) Rising Star Matt Shawyer said: “Menasheh did a fantastic job, especially considering it was his first time ever at Rockingham. He got to grips with the circuit really well and was easily the quickest of the BARC drivers running with their restrictors.”
Splitting his time between a family home in Bahrain, boarding school in Switzerland and a residence in South West London, Menasheh raised a lot of eyebrows today and he should certainly be a force in the 2008 Formula Renault BARC Championship.
Hillspeed team boss Richard Ollerenshaw added: “I’ve been absolutely blown away with how Menasheh has driven, he totally stamped his authority on the BARC class and you would never have known he hasn’t been in the car since the winter series.
“I’m very impressed by Menasheh, his performances and the application he’s shown. In the winter he did very well but yesterday he really was outstanding. An incredible season awaits him if he can continue driving this well and making such good progress.”