Promising Formula 3 rookie Menasheh Idafar delivered another noteworthy performance at Snetterton today, Thursday, 25th February, as the opening officially timed test of the Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series pre-season came to a close.
Building on a great performance at the Norfolk track yesterday, the National Class newcomer continued to underline his wet-weather pace this morning before lapping within just 0.9 seconds of the outright International Class times this afternoon in dry conditions.
Although fully wet at the beginning of today’s first session, the 1.95 mile circuit dried throughout the morning meaning teams were ultimately presented with the opportunity to run cars on slick tyres during the final stages of the three-hour session.
Having positioned himself well in the overall top 10 for the majority of the morning, Menasheh and his T-Sport team went on to take full advantage of the late window for slicks. He emerged as the top National Class driver, a superb third fastest overall, with a lap of 1m04.680 seconds (108.64mph).
The afternoon started dry and times continued to tumble with the 18-year-old steering his Dallara F307 Mugen-Honda to a best time of 1m03.029 seconds (111.49mph). Placing him over three 10ths of a second clear in the National Class battle, Menasheh concluded the day 14th overall on combined times – just 0.920 seconds shy of Daisuke Nakajima’s outright International Class best.
Aiming to improve on his final run on fresh rubber, Menasheh was unlucky to catch a small puddle at Riches Corner as he headed into his flying lap and the resulting excursion meant he wasn’t able to try and dip below the 1m03 second mark.
He commented: “This morning was really good again and to be less than a second outside the best time of the International Class front-runners in the dry this afternoon was great. I’m really happy with how the first test has gone, I’ve learned a lot and made some good progress.”
Next on the pre-season calendar for Menasheh is a visit to Rockingham in Northamptonshire next week for the second FOTA test on Monday, 1st March, and Tuesday, 2nd March.