Formula Renault BARC Championship competitor Menasheh Idafar consolidated his position among the category front-runners during official testing at Silverstone National Circuit over the course of the last two days, the talented 17-year-old consistently lapping half a second under the existing race lap record.
Sharing track time with competitors from the sister Formula Renault UK series on Wednesday, 19th March, the British-born Bahraini was the fastest FR2000 Class BARC runner during the four hour morning session with a time of 56.905 seconds (103.68mph).
Lapping 0.249 seconds quicker than Formula Renault BARC race winner Ollie Hancock, the Hillspeed team were delighted with Menasheh’s performance. During the afternoon though, an unfortunate excursion through the gravel resulted in engine problems which curtailed his running early.
Although fearing the engine had expired, the Hillspeed mechanics worked late into the night and were rewarded for their sterling efforts to repair the 2.0 litre powerplant when Menasheh went out and posted the second fastest time during the opening session this morning, Thursday, 20th March, with a lap of 56.946 seconds (103.61mph).
During today’s second session, a day which saw the BARC runners splitting track time with the ELF Renault Clio Cup, Menasheh was again second fastest as he consistently produced front-running pace. In changeable conditions, he posted a best time of 57.337 seconds (102.90mph).
With everything going very well indeed, the Gulfol, Ortolan and Gulf Computer Services backed racer was then dealt a blow when his engine gave way on his second lap of the third and final test session. This time the unit was beyond repair so Menasheh had to sit out the remainder of the day.
“It’s a shame we had the engine problems but it happens like that sometimes, I’m just very pleased our pace is good and we’re producing very good laps times”, said the Hillspeed ace, “The team is doing a fantastic job and the car feels great. To be fastest yesterday morning and second fastest overall today I’m very happy.”
With just a couple of days to go until the start of the opening race weekend of the 2008 Formula Renault BARC season at Brands Hatch Indy Circuit in Kent, the Hillspeed team will be working feverishly on Good Friday to get Menasheh’s new engine fitted to his car in time for round one qualifying on Sunday, 23rd March.
Due to an unfortunate clerical error with race entries for the Brands Hatch event, there is a question mark over whether or not Menasheh will be able to take part in the weekend’s two races despite the best efforts of the British Automobile Racing Club (BARC) and his Hillspeed team.
At this stage, it’s likely he will go into the event as a reserve driver due to the limitation on the number of single-seater cars permitted to race on the short 1.2-mile Indy Circuit at the Kent venue.
Regardless of the outcome, he will be able to take part in the qualifying sessions on Easter Sunday, 23rd March, although he may have to wait and see if he can participate in both races which take place on Easter Monday, 24th March, no matter where he qualifies on the grid.