Determined performances from Menasheh Idafar during rounds 11 and 12 of the Michelin Formula Renault UK Championship at Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit yesterday, Sunday, 5th July, enabled the 18-year-old category rookie to secure a brace of points scoring finishes.
During the first of the day’s races, the Ortolan and Gulf Computer Services backed driver slipped a couple of places unfortunately on the opening lap but then proceeded to steer his Hillspeed car back into the top 20 by getting ahead of Michael Lyons on lap three.
Nick Yelloly was the next target and Menasheh passed him on the very next tour to go into 18th spot but a to-and-fro battle at mid-distance resulted in him dropping back into 19th position behind Alice Powell where he would remain to the chequered flag. Fighting hard to find a way by his fellow Graduate Cup competitor, at the finish they were split by only 0.4 seconds.
Over the course of the weekend, a total of 135,000 spectators flocked to the track to watch all of the action from the World Series by Renault event – easily the biggest crowd Menasheh has ever raced in front of.
For round 12, Menasheh started in 19th place – as he did for the earlier encounter – and a great battle ensued from lap three onward between the Hillspeed driver and former Formula Renault BARC title rival Ollie Hancock. Menasheh moved ahead of the 2008 BARC Champion on the fourth lap and remained ahead until the 13th tour when contact involving Jordan Williams occurred.
Running at full speed towards the first turn, Copse Corner, Williams was under pressure from Menasheh but as the former darted back onto the racing line he clipped the front wing of the Hillspeed car, breaking it and also causing himself to pick up a puncture.
Luckily, Menasheh did manage to soldier on and in the end he only lost one position. At the chequered flag on lap 16, he took 17th place and four more championship points to move to within six points of the top 20 in the driver standings.
Team principal Richard Ollerenshaw said: “It’s been quite a tough event for us but Menasheh did produce some good performances in the races. He raced well with Alice (Powell) in the first one and then got the better of Ollie (Hancock) nicely in race two. It certainly wasn’t Menasheh’s fault at Copse, there was nothing he could do and he actually performed well to finish where he did.
“We were exceptionally pleased with his racing in both rounds, it was very clean and he put pressure on the drivers ahead, generally forcing them into making minor mistakes. Our goal this year was to work on Menasheh’s racing ability as his overall speed in testing and qualifying is unquestionable.”
Menasheh now has a four-week break from competitive action with rounds 13 and 14 of the Michelin Formula Renault UK Championship taking place over the weekend 1st/2nd August at Snetterton Circuit in Norfolk.