Round three of the 2009 Michelin Formula Renault UK Championship saw Menasheh Idafar just miss out on his second top 10 finish of the season this afternoon, Saturday, 25th April, but 10 points for 11th position saw the teenager maintain 13th place overall in the driver standings.
In the Graduate Cup standings for championship newcomers, the 18-year-old Hillspeed driver remains in the top five following this afternoon’s outing which saw a mix-up involving the Safety Car cost Menasheh a number of places at the end of the opening lap.
Qualifying a superb sixth fastest, and second quickest Graduate Cup runner, with a time of 1m 15.197 seconds (112.79mph), the Ortolan and Gulf Computer Services backed racer stood a terrific chance during round three and things initially looked positive after a good getaway from the grid.
Further behind, a start-line collision involving a handful of cars further down the order resulted in the deployment of the Safety Car in time for the start of lap two but with cautionary boards shown at Woodham Hill prior to end of lap one, the driver ahead of Menasheh slowed.
Reacting to the drop in pace, Menasheh lessened his speed too but the four cars behind all passed him on the run into Club Chicane amid some confusion among the championship runners. With the Safety Car on track awaiting the competitors as they exited the chicane, Menasheh found himself down in 13th position following the mix-up but he fought back into 11th place before the finish.
Commenting on the race, Hillspeed team principal Richard Ollerenshaw said: “Menasheh reacted exactly as he’s been taught to do by observing the Safety Car boards immediately and yet lost four places to other drivers who didn’t reduce their speed. Unfortunately he was unable to make those places up but he raced well and scored more good points to remain fifth in the Graduate Cup.”
During the round four qualifying session, Menasheh posted a best lap of 1m 11.355 seconds (118.86 mph) to end the 20-minute run less than six 10ths of a second shy of championship leader James Calado’s pole position. Earning him a 12th place start for Sunday afternoon’s race, Menasheh will also line-up as the third highest placed Graduate Cup driver.
Round four of the Michelin Formula Renault UK Championship is timetabled to get underway at 15.20 tomorrow, Sunday, 26th April, and will be screened live on ITV4 in the UK – channel 120 on Sky Digital, cable channel 117 and Freeview channel 28.