Double Podium for Hillspeed

HILLSPEED END SEASON WITH DOUBLE PODIUM FLOURISHDerbyshire single-seater specialist Hillspeed enjoyed a successful conclusion to its 2008 Formula Renault BARC campaign at Silverstone National Circuit yesterday, Sunday, 5th October, with Menasheh Idafar and Ahmad Al Harthy both finishing on the podium.While Omani racer Al Harthy secured a fine third place in wet conditions during the first race of the weekend, round 11, British-born Bahraini Idafar matched the result with his fifth podium of the year during the 12th and final round of the championship.Formula Renault BARC debutant James Theodore, meanwhile, showed terrific progress during his first ever weekend in car racing and the 16-year-old ended the Silverstone event with a brace of highly creditable top 15 finishes.In the headline FR2000 Class standings, Idafar ends the campaign in fourth position on 76 points, eight points clear of Al Harthy in fifth place. Michael Lyons, who missed the season finale due to historic racing commitments at Donington Park, concludes his first full year in contemporary single-seaters in 15th place.Although there is no sanctioned entrants championship in Formula Renault BARC, Hillspeed is unofficially the second highest scoring team of 2008 when taking into account the best scores of each squad’s two highest placed cars in every race.“It’s been a fantastic end to the season”, commented Hillspeed team principal Richard Ollerenshaw, “I’m a little bit disappointed we didn’t manage to get two drivers on the same podium at any point this year but we haven’t had the run of the luck when we needed it. Our bad luck mid-season at Oulton Park and Croft damaged us.“I think it’s been a very positive championship for Hillspeed, Ahmad and Menasheh have both developed a lot as drivers and they have a lot of potential for the future. Mick wasn’t here with us this weekend but hopefully his step-up to Formula Renault UK in the winter series will go well.”Ollerenshaw added: “James has done a fantastic job for us this weekend. To be faced with Silverstone as it was for the first race on Sunday, simply awful conditions, he did very well. To have two strong finishes on his debut puts him in a good position for the Winter Championship.”Sunday’s proceedings were delayed by around two hours due to a heavily saturated circuit following overnight rain which continued throughout the morning. Round 11 started with Al Harthy on pole position, his second on the trot, Idafar in third place and Theodore in 19th position.With a lot of spray being thrown up by the Formula Renaults, Al Harthy maintained his advantage at the front while a little further behind, team-mate Idafar had a spin at Copse when fighting to hold on to third place. Rejoining down in 15th position, the 17-year-old produced a good fight-back and ended the race in ninth position.Al Harthy, meanwhile, had a moment of his own in the terrible conditions at the end of lap one heading out of Brooklands. Sliding slightly wide with two wheels touching the gravel, the 27-year-old managed to recover his car safely but the delay resulted in Isa Yousif and Ross Curnow both getting better drive out of Luffield into lap two.Al Harthy remained in third place all the way to the chequered flag on lap 14 to record his third podium of the 2008 season. Theodore too had a problem on lap one, spinning at Becketts and recovering in 27th position. Gaining extra confidence with each lap, the youngster climbed through the order to an eventual finish of 15th position.Round 12 took place on a much drier circuit with Idafar the highest placed Hillspeed starter in third position. Although he slipped to fourth through Becketts on lap one he regained a top three slot as race leader Yousif crashed out into the gravel at Brooklands.Remaining in third until lap nine, Idafar then took second place following a spin for Curnow. Holding the place right up until the final lap, the Hillspeed racer unfortunately slipped to third at Luffield following a slight moment on entry to the corner.Al Harthy, starting in fifth position, ran solidly during lap one but at Brooklands he had a spin when dicing with James Dixon. Down in 20th position, the Omani had a mountain to climb but a series of superbly quick laps brought him back into contention for points and he concluded the race in 10th position.Theodore improved on his race one performance with a 14th place finish after a very good drive. Lining up 16th on the grid, the category rookie maintained his position until just before mid-distance when he moved into the top 15. On lap nine, he then passed Ellis Harkins at Brooklands to take 14th which he held to the chequered flag.With the 2008 Formula Renault BARC season now completed, Hillspeed continues its preparations for the upcoming Formula Renault UK Winter Championship which will take place on Saturday, 1st November, at Croft Circuit in North Yorkshire and on Saturday, 8th November, at Rockingham in Northamptonshire.Final 2008 Formula Renault BARC Championship Standings:4th Menasheh Idafar, 76pts; 5th Ahmad Al Harthy, 68pts; 15th Michael Lyons, 8pts

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