Menasheh Idafar declared himself “very happy” at the conclusion of the first race weekend of the 2011 Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series at Monza today, Sunday, 17th April, having raced competitively during rounds two and three of the new season.
After securing a points-scoring eighth place finish on his International Class debut on Saturday afternoon, the 20-year-old aimed for more during today’s pair of encounters which were extremely action-packed events.
Beginning the opening 12-lap outing eighth on the grid, as a result of his finishing spot in race one, Menasheh moved forward well in the early stages and climbed as high as sixth on lap four before slipping back to eighth again.
Fighting hard with Lucas Foresti, everything looked on course for the T-Sport racer’s second solid points finish in as many races. On the final lap though, the Brazilian unintentionally made contact with the back of Menasheh’s car under braking for the first chicane and the net result was that the 2010 National Class Champion was only able to limp home in 18th place.
Starting 13th on the grid for the third and final race of the weekend, the British-born Bahraini made up ground immediately but damage to his front wing, incurred while closely following the cars ahead, led to a drop off in performance as the race wore on.
For the first few laps after the slight contact, Menasheh was still able to lap within 0.5 seconds of the leaders and he managed to battle through from 17th on lap two, after dropping down the order, into a 13th place finish on lap 21. Post-race he was promoted into the top 10 due to a series of penalties for other drivers and therefore scored an extra point to add to his success from round one.
“I’m very happy with how the first weekend worked out in the end”, said Menasheh, “Ok, we should have had some more points and a couple of better results but we made some really great progress with the car over the weekend and our pace got better and better. Although we were unlucky in some ways, it was still a pretty good start to the season.”
Menasheh and the rest of the British F3 field now return to the UK ahead of next weekend’s event at Oulton Park International Circuit in Cheshire. Qualifying and round four will take place on Saturday, 23rd April, with rounds five and six following on Monday, 25th April – there will be no track action on Sunday, 24th April.
Looking ahead to the event, he said: “I can’t wait for Oulton next weekend, it’s a great track and I always enjoy driving there. Monza went better in the end than I expected so I hope we can keep moving forward next weekend.”