Idafar Claims Hillspeeds 4th 2008 Pole

Hillspeed celebrated its fourth pole position start of the 2008 Formula Renault BARC season at North Yorkshire’s Croft Circuit yesterday afternoon, Saturday, 19th July, after seeing Menasheh Idafar scorch to the round seven top spot.On course for a double pole position performance during the 20-minute session, the British-born Bahraini just missed out on the prime grid slot for round six by a mere 0.059 seconds. However, second place on the grid soon became third after the teenage ace saw his fastest time of the session disallowed due to a red flag infringement.Nonetheless, heading row two for the first of Sunday’s races and starting the second encounter from pole position, Idafar will be aiming to eat into the championship lead currently held by Ollie Hancock who, in contrast, had a less than favourable run today.While Idafar’s original second quickest lap of 1m 21.407 seconds (93.97mph) is now credited as his best, his third fastest time of 1m 21.458 seconds was still good enough to claim the round seven pole position.Hillspeed team-mate Ahmad Al Harthy looked very well placed to achieve second row grid starts for both of the weekend’s 14-lap encounters but the abundance of stoppages, three in total, compromised each run for the Omani ace. In the end, the 26-year-old had to settle for a best lap of 1m 21.844 seconds (93.47mph) which places him sixth on the grid for round six. Al Harthy’s second fastest lap, a time of 1m 21.963 seconds, sees him start Sunday’s second race from seventh place.Like his older team-mate, Essex 17-year-old Michael Lyons suffered badly with the red flags and missed out on realising his potential of a likely career-best qualifying effort at the wheel of his newly liveried red and white car.Starting 13th on the grid for the weekend’s opening race – his quickest time a lap of 1m 22.890 seconds (92.29mph) – the Felsted based star will begin round seven from an improved 12th on the grid thanks to a time of 1m 23.144 seconds.Speaking after qualifying, team boss Richard Ollerenshaw said: “Obviously we’re very happy to see Menasheh on pole position again for the second race but the red flags were very frustrating for all three of our guys. We’re confident ahead of tomorrow though and we’re expecting a great team performance from Menasheh, Ahmad and Mick.“Regarding Menasheh’s disallowed lap, from our point of view we don’t agree in as much as the car he passed under red flags had slowed considerably and he thought it was grinding to a halt. In his eyes, he had no option other than to pass it. He was also unsighted to the flags but we do accept the decision and feel it was handled fairly.”Ollerenshaw added: “Ahmad is happy to be back in the top six but his qualifying was heavily compromised by the red flags. We know he had the pace to be inside the top four today, especially as he went very well in testing on Friday. We’re sure in the races he’ll be very strong.

“With Mick, we saw a rolling lap of 1m 20.9 seconds compared to Menasheh’s best rolling lap of 1m 20.7 seconds. That tells us all we need to know – Mick should have been in the top six today but, again, he was compromised by the stoppages. If things work out tomorrow, he could well be on course for a couple of very good results.”Round six of the 2008 Formula Renault BARC Championship will take place at around 13.15 today, Sunday, 20th July, with round seven expected to follow at 16.15.Provisional 2008 Formula Renault BARC Championship Standings (after Rd6&7 qualifying):2nd Menasheh Idafar, 48pts; =5th Ahmad Al Harthy, Brett Parris & Ash Davies, 22pts; 12th Michael Lyons, 8pts