Ahead Of Croft Double-Header
Leading Formula Renault BARC Championship entrant Hillspeed has high hopes for the sixth and seventh rounds of the season at Croft Circuit in North Yorkshire next weekend, 19th/20th July, when the 2008 campaign resumes after a lengthy two month break.With its three drivers, Menasheh Idafar, Ahmad Al Harthy and Michael Lyons, currently lying in second, equal fifth and 12th position respectively in the headline FR2000 Class driver standings, the Hathersage based team is confident it will be able to kick off the second half of the championship with a set of excellent results.For British-born Bahraini Idafar, his first full year as a Hillspeed driver has been nothing short of outstanding so far with four podium finishes and three pole positions a true indication of just how far he has come since debuting in Formula Renault BARC at the beginning of 2007.Oman’s Al Harthy, meanwhile, has been similarly strong so far this season with only the misfortune of a suspension problem during round five at Oulton Park blemishing his record of top finishes. Achieving a season’s best of fourth place at Brands Hatch at the start of the campaign, the 26-year-old certainly has the pace to fight for a Croft podium.British teenager Lyons, who resides in Felsted, Essex, has improved steadily since the start of his first full year in contemporary single-seaters. Recording a career best result of seventh at Rockingham in April, he went on to consolidate his recent improvements with a top eight finish at Oulton Park last time out.All in all, Hillspeed is confident over the course of the remaining seven races its trio of drivers will only get stronger, beginning with a podium challenging performance during rounds six and seven at Croft just over a week from now.Team principal Richard Ollerenshaw said: “We’re all very much looking forward to the season getting back underway next weekend. It’s been a good year for us so far but we’re focused on achieving even better results during the second half of the year.“Croft has been a good circuit for us in recent times, both Menasheh and Ahmad took podium finishes there in the BARC class of last year’s Formula Renault UK Winter Championship so we’re confident they’ll be strong. Mick should go well too, we did some good test work earlier this week with him at Snetterton so things look promising.”During the build-up to the resumption of the 2008 championship, Idafar has enjoyed several test outings with runs at Croft, Rockingham, Silverstone and Snetterton. Al Harthy, meanwhile, took his first mileage since the end of May during an unofficially timed test run at Snetterton earlier this week where he was immediately on the pace.In between commitments in historic racing circles over the last couple of months, Lyons has returned to modern race machinery in recent weeks and is working hard to become a consistent top 10 qualifier and finisher. With this in mind, the 17-year-old will test at Donington Park next Thursday, 17th July, prior to the weekend’s action at Croft.
Following unofficially timed pre-event practice at Croft next Friday, 18th July, qualifying for the sixth and seventh rounds of the 2008 Formula Renault BARC Championship will take place on Saturday, 19th July, at 12.25. Both races are currently timetabled for Sunday, 20th July, at 13.15 and 16.15 respectively.Provisional 2008 Formula Renault BARC Championship Standings (after Rd5)2nd Menasheh Idafar, 47pts; =5th Ahmad Al Harthy, Brett Parris & Ash Davies, 22pts; 12th Michael Lyons, 8pts