Hillspeed Quick Out Of Blocks

IN 2009 WITH FIVE DRIVER LINE-UPHillspeed has become the first team to confirm its participation in the 2009 Formula Renault UK and Formula Renault BARC championships after registering five drivers at this past weekend’s Autosport International Show at Birmingham NEC.While Menasheh Idafar and Michael Lyons will both compete in Formula Renault UK, having graduated to the category from Formula Renault BARC with the Hathersage squad, the team has also named a three driver line-up in the BARC series with Ahmad Al Harthy joined by reigning BARC Class Winter Champion James Theodore and team newcomer Ellis Harkins.British-born Bahraini Idafar, who is 17-years-old, raced to fourth position overall in the 2008 Formula Renault BARC Championship before making his Formula Renault UK debut during the four-round winter series in November where he achieved a best result of fifth position.Likewise, fellow 17-year-old Lyons made his UK series debut during the 2008 Winter Championship after cutting his teeth in contemporary machinery during the Formula Renault BARC season. In addition to his Hillspeed commitments, Lyons also competed in numerous Historic Sports Car Club events. Enjoying a superb year, the highlight came with title victory in Historic Formula Ford.“We’re all absolutely delighted both Menasheh and Mick will be racing in Hillspeed colours this year in Formula Renault UK, it means fantastic continuity for the team”, commented principal Richard Ollerenshaw, “It’s great to return to the championship for the main season and we’re all aiming for a strong year. I’m confident Menasheh and Mick will both do a very good job.”In Formula Renault BARC, Hillspeed will undoubtedly begin the season as one of the favourites for championship success thanks to the return of Omani ace Ahmad Al Harthy. One of the category’s foremost front-runners last year, he achieved a maiden pole position at Thruxton and also recorded a trio of podiums on his way to fifth overall in the headline FR2000 Class standings.Al Harthy will spearhead a three car line-up for Hillspeed in Formula Renault BARC, the team’s reigning BARC Class Winter Champion James Theodore also returning to the fold. The car racing rookie, who only made his debut at the end of the main BARC series last year, took a memorable 100 per cent podium record during the winter series with a superb three out of four class victories.The third car will be filled by Irish racer Ellis Harkins, the 22-year-old embarking on his second full season in Formula Renault BARC. Having only started competitive racing in karts at the age of 18 while studying at Cardiff University, Harkins then stepped up to cars in 2006 where he raced a Formula BMW in Bahrain on a couple of occasions.Ollerenshaw added: “It really is incredible news Ahmad is returning to Formula Renault BARC with us this year, we truly believe he has a fantastic chance to win the championship. Last year was a breakthrough year for him and he was unlucky not to pick up his first win, hopefully that will be something he can achieve very quickly in 2009.“James will be hoping to continue where he left off in the winter series and we’re sure he’ll soon start moving up the grid to become a regular front-runner. We’re all looking forward to working with Ellis and our aim is to help him develop as fast as possible. The early signs have been encouraging.”