Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series racer Menasheh Idafar enjoyed a solid return to action at Brands Hatch Grand Prix Circuit today, Tuesday, 13th July, during official testing at the Kent venue – his first ever experience of the full 2.3-mile track.
Following a lengthy break of more than six weeks since the last event at Hockenheim in Germany, the 19-year-old made the most of some essential practice time at Brands Hatch which will be the venue for the final three races of the 2010 season in late September.
During the first of today’s sessions on a drying track Menasheh lapped with a time of 1m24.588 seconds, just over a 10th of a second shy of the best managed by National Class points leader James Cole. There was little to choose between the T-Sport team-mates in session two either, Menasheh lapping within a mere five 100ths of a second of Cole with a time of 1m19.992 seconds.
“Today was ok, I hoped to be quicker and I didn’t feel as comfortable as I wanted to but it was great to drive the Grand Prix track for the first time – I really like it”, said the British-born Bahraini, “Things went smoothly and we completed some good work, I’m definitely looking forward to racing at the GP track for the first time when we go back there later in the year.”
Heading into rounds 13, 14 and 15 of the season at Rockingham in Northamptonshire this weekend, 17th/18th July, the battle over the National Class title is as tight as ever. With five class victories to his credit so far, Menasheh is aiming for a strong run at the 1.94-mile International Super Sports Car Circuit – an event which will see British F3 competitors making mid-race pit-stops for the first time.
He added: “It’ll be great to be racing again after such a long break. One of the main things I’m looking forward to at Rockingham is the pit-stop in the second race. It’s always good to experience something new. We had chance to practice some stops during the test today and it went well.”
Following pre-event testing at Rockingham this Friday, 16th July, qualifying and round 13 of the 2010 Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series will take place on Saturday, 17th July. Round 14, the 20-minute ‘sprint’ race which now features mandatory pit-stops, and round 15 will be held on Sunday, 18th July.