Al Harthy Celebrates ...

 Career Best Result At Croft

Omani racer Ahmad Al Harthy produced an excellent performance in round six of the 2008 Formula Renault BARC Championship at Croft Circuit near Darlington yesterday afternoon, Sunday, 20th July, to achieve a career best second place finish at the wheel of his Hillspeed run car.The 26-year-old, who started the race from sixth on the grid, made a great getaway to immediately move into the top five and although slipping back to sixth on lap two, he gained a position on lap six following the demise of Johannes Seidlitz with a puncture.Driving well through a shuffling of the order at the end of lap seven and into the eighth tour, Al Harthy emerged out of it all in second position as several cars tripped over each other on the run out of the chicane.Although light rain started as the race neared its end, the Hillspeed star comfortably held onto his second place to the finish – a career best Formula Renault BARC result and his first podium of the current campaign.“I tried to keep it clean and then took advantage of a couple of other cars having problems to gain places too”, said Al Harthy, “It was hard to keep the pace while coming through but second is a great result. It’s good to be back on the podium for the first time since the winter series last year. Hopefully we can keep on coming back to the podium!”Team-mate Menasheh Idafar, who lined up third on the grid, did finish the race in third place – a superb effort considering he had to drive two thirds of the outing with a broken front wing – but the result was later taken away from the British-born Bahraini due to contact at the hairpin on lap five, the incident which led to the damage on his car.For Michael Lyons, a points finish eluded him in the end although he did battle hard to a top 12 result, having started 13th on the grid. Moving into the top 10 on lap five, the Essex 17-year-old was up to ninth on lap eight but a moment late in the race dropped him to 13th. However, with the removal of Idafar from the results, this became 12th place.Round seven proved to be an absolute nightmare for Richard Ollerenshaw’s Hillspeed squad with a potential race victory going begging at the first corner. Not only that, all three of the Derbyshire team’s cars were forced out of the race in the gravel trap on the outside of the first turn, an incomprehensible outcome.Idafar led away from pole position – his fourth of the season – on the run to Clervaux but contact to the rear of his car saw him forced into the gravel and immediately out of the race. Al Harthy was caught up in the aftermath and became another unfortunate victim, team-mate Lyons and Lee Dwyer also making contact.“We’re obviously delighted regarding Ahmad’s podium in the first race, he really deserved it as he raced well”, said Richard Ollerenshaw, “We also feel it was fair for Menasheh to be removed from the results. That doesn’t take away from how well he coped with the damaged front wing but we expected the penalty.“The worst thing about that is he has to count the non-score in his end of season total so it will have a big impact on his final championship position. The car was there this weekend, everything was in order for two wins and it was a great opportunity to eat into Ollie Hancock’s championship lead. It just wasn’t to be which is very frustrating.”Ollerenshaw added: “The second race was a total disaster, I don’t know what to say. To have all three cars taken out at the first corner was unbelievable. All we can do now is dust ourselves down and come back stronger at Snetterton next month, which we will.”Rounds eight and nine of the 2008 Formula Renault BARC Championship will take place three weeks from now on Saturday, 9th August, at Snetterton Circuit in Norfolk.Provisional 2008 Formula Renault BARC Championship Standings (after Rd7):=3rd Menasheh Idafar & Isa Yousif Mohammed, 48pts; 6th Ahmad Al Harthy, 34pts; 13th Michael Lyons, 8pts