Brands opener begins well for Idafar

Hillspeed’s Menasheh Idafar made an impressive start to the opening weekend of the Michelin Formula Renault UK Championship season at Brands Hatch in Kent, Friday, 3rd April, after ending the second of the day’s free practice sessions with the sixth best time.

Heading into his first race weekend in the country’s biggest one-make single-seater series aiming for a solid start to the year, the British-born Bahraini raised plenty of eyebrows in session two with a lap of 44.189 seconds (97.64mph) – just 0.267 seconds shy of the top of the times and the second quickest of the Graduate Cup drivers.

The morning session, which got underway later than expected due to mist at the 1.2-mile Indy Circuit, saw the 18-year-old produce a time of 44.339 seconds (97.31mph) which placed him around half a second outside James Calado’s pace-setting best.

All in all, today’s free practice was a very pleasing one for the Gulf Computer Services, Ortolan and Gulfol supported racer and he’s now looking forward to the 2009 season’s first qualifying day tomorrow.

Hillspeed team boss Richard Ollerenshaw said: “Menasheh did a superb job today, to be just half a second off the pace in the morning was a good start and when he ran with new tyres in session two he leapt up the order. To end the afternoon run in sixth place, and just a couple of 10ths away from the top, was well deserved. We’re all absolutely delighted with such a good start to the weekend.”

Qualifying for the first two rounds of Menasheh’s maiden season in Formula Renault UK will take place tomorrow, Saturday, 4th April, at 09.25 and 14.40. Both races will then follow on Sunday, 5th April, with round one getting underway at 10.00 and round two expected to begin at 15.45.

The second of Sunday’s races is scheduled to be screened live on ITV4 which can be viewed at channel 28 on Freeview, through cable channel 117 and via the Sky Digital platform at channel 120.

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