Formula Renault BARC Winter Championship driver Menasheh Idafar recorded his second podium finish in as many races at Croft Circuit in North Yorkshire yesterday, Saturday, 10th November, during the third round of the four-race series.
The 16-year-old British-born Bahraini, who resides in London when in the UK, finished second in class during the first of the day’s two races and, very impressively, took the chequered flag almost five seconds ahead of reigning Formula Renault BARC Champion, and eventual 2007 Formula Renault BARC Class Winter Champion, Hywel Lloyd.
Third in the BARC Class standings heading into the final round of the winter campaign, Menasheh was unfortunately unable to maintain the placing after contact with fellow BARC competitor Joshua Brooks forced him out of the race at the hairpin on lap two. He therefore ends the series fifth overall in class.
During official pre-event testing on Friday, the teenage racer was consistently quicker than Hillspeed team-mate Ahmad Al Harthy and during two of the day’s three sessions he was notably just a 10th of a second shy of Lloyd’s pace.
Qualifying 24th on the grid overall, fourth in class, for round three, Menasheh enjoyed one of his most promising outings of the year as a whole to finish 18th on track and second only to Brett Parris in the BARC Class to claim his second podium.
He was the lead BARC runner for several laps around mid-distance and posted a best race lap of 1m 24.655 seconds, four 10ths of a second quicker than the fastest managed by Lloyd and six 10ths of a second better than Al Harthy’s best. Running with wet-weather tyres due to earlier rain, Menasheh’s performance expectedly tailed off as the track dried later on.
“The race was quite difficult during the second half because we were on wet tyres, as the track dried more and more we lost performance”, explained Menasheh, “It was a good race though, I enjoyed it and I was happy to take my second podium finish. To end the race ahead of Hywel Lloyd was really good!”
For round four, the dual-nationality youngster started from 25th on the grid but his race unfortunately only lasted as far as the end of lap two when a coming together with Joshua Brooks resulted in both BARC cars retiring from the race.
Although the second of Saturday’s races proved a disappointing end to his winter campaign, Menasheh has a lot of positives to take with him ahead of a likely return to the full Formula Renault BARC Championship in 2008. Before then, he will return to school in Switzerland ahead of a planned testing programme which is expected to begin next February.