Singleton Second Fastest

AT SILVERSTONE FOR HILLSPEEDDerbyshire based Formula Renault UK squad Hillspeed rounded out the final two-day test of the official championship pre-season in grand style at Silverstone in Northamptonshire yesterday, Wednesday, 25th March, with Richard Singleton posting the second fastest lap on combined times.

Following on from a tremendous day on Silverstone’s National Circuit on Tuesday, Hillspeed once again proved it has a huge amount of potential for the 2009 campaign with 20-year-old Singleton producing a very competitive performance in the wet and the dry on the full Grand Prix Circuit.

Lapping with a best time of 1m 47.832 seconds (106.62mph) during the second of four sessions, the experienced Formula Renault racer ended the day less than two 10ths of a second shy of pre-season title favourite James Calado.

Formula Renault UK rookie Menasheh Idafar was once again in excellent form with less than 10 days to go until the start of his first season in the country’s premier one-make, single-seater series. He ended the day 10th overall on combined times and the second fastest of the ‘Graduate Cup’ drivers.

Producing his best time, 1m 48.381 seconds (106.08mph), during the dry second session, Idafar was equally strong in the wet and actually produced perhaps his best ever performance in those conditions. The 18-year-old was ninth fastest in the rain-affected final session and, importantly, the best of the Graduate Cup contenders.

Fellow category newcomer Lee Dwyer, embarking on his second day of testing with Hillspeed, enjoyed another impressive outing and was delighted with the progress he has made since choosing to run with the Hathersage team.

Finishing the Grand Prix Circuit test as the fourth quickest Graduate Cup racer, Dwyer’s best lap of the day, 1m 48.955 seconds (105.52mph), placed him just 0.6 seconds shy of the top 10 overall and came during the dry second session. His best effort relative to the other competitors came in the wet session three where he was eighth quickest and the second highest placed Graduate.

Speaking at the end of two excellent days for Hillspeed, team principal Richard Ollerenshaw commented: “We’re absolutely delighted with the performances shown by Richard, Menasheh and Lee over the course of the last two days at Silverstone and we’re certainly on a bit of a high heading to Brands Hatch next week for the first two rounds of the season.

“We always knew Richard would be incredibly fast on the Grand Prix track thanks to his experience from Eurocup Formula Renault but to be second fastest after only having limited running so far this year was a great effort. Menasheh’s dry time was excellent but it was his performance in the wet which most impressed us, he’s maturing into a very capable young driver.”

He added: “The whole team has thoroughly enjoyed working with Lee and we’re very pleased with his performance and application. On the National track he was phenomenally good and on the Grand Prix layout yesterday he backed that up very nicely. He certainly has huge potential.”

Next stop Brands Hatch for Rds1&2Hillspeed’s Formula Renault UK team will now set about preparing for the first two rounds of the 2009 championship which will take place on Sunday, 5th April, at Brands Hatch Indy Circuit.

Entering its 20th anniversary season, Formula Renault UK is unquestionably the most prestigious and high-profile championship of its kind in Britain and, arguably, the most competitive junior single-seater series on the globe.

Running as part of the HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship package, qualifying for round one of the Formula Renault UK series will take place at 09.25 on Saturday, 4th April, while the round two qualifying session is set to follow at 14.40.

Both races will be held on Sunday, 5th April, at 10.00 and 15.40 with each encounter scheduled to be contested over 24 laps of the 1.2-mile track. Round two is likely to be screened live on ITV4 which can be accessed through the Freeview service at channel 28, via channel 120 on Sky Digital and through channel 117 for cable subscribers.

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