T-Sport’s Menasheh Idafar claimed his first Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series podium of 2011 – his second career visit to the overall rostrum – at Oulton Park in Cheshire this afternoon, Monday, 25th April, following a tremendous drive during the sixth round of the season.
Having displayed exceptional pace throughout the weekend, as proven when setting third fastest time during qualifying on Saturday, the British-born Bahraini thoroughly deserved his place on the podium – especially having seen a second place finish in round four slip through his fingers.
“It’s fantastic to be on the podium, I’m really happy and it’s a great result for the team too”, said Menasheh, “The guys all worked so hard to get the car repaired after Saturday, they did an amazing job, and although the first race today wasn’t so good, being on the podium makes up for that.”
The first of today’s races, round five, ended with an unfortunate non-finish on the first lap when a minor excursion at the hairpin brought the 20-year-old’s race to an early conclusion. Starting 20th and last on the grid, by virtue of his Saturday problems, Menasheh got a great getaway and passed half a dozen cars by the time he reached the second corner, Cascades.
Making fantastic progress, he looked set for a top 10 push at the very least but into the hairpin on lap one his car swapped ends after getting slightly onto the grass in among the midfield traffic. With no data to work with from round five, finding a set-up for the last race would be a major challenge.
Lining up third on the grid for round six, Menasheh made a good start but wasn’t quite able to get ahead of front-row qualifier Lucas Foresti on the run to Old Hall. Focused on making sure he kept his lines tidy and leaving no opportunities to be attacked, he concentrated on maintaining third instead of chasing after the top two.
Menasheh also had to contend with some high-speed oversteer which did compromise his pace, purely a result of a lack of data from the first of today’s races. Even so, he pressed on and while under immense pressure throughout the 40-minute encounter the 2010 National Class Champion wasn’t at all flustered and delivered the podium which he so rightly deserved this weekend.
“We had lots of high-speed oversteer so that made things really difficult but as we couldn’t get any data from the first race today, that’s not a surprise!”, he said, “It was hard work and a few laps from the end Rupert (Svendsen-Cook) nearly got me. I held on though so I’m really pleased.”
Menasheh’s result in round six lifts him into the championship top 10 with 16 points, four ahead of his closest challenger Kevin Magnussen. Next on the British F3 calendar is a visit to the Snetterton 300 Circuit in Norfolk three weeks from now, 14th/15th May.