Although missing out on making it three wins from three races during the 18th round of the 2010 Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series at Spa-Francorchamps today, Saturday, 31st July, National Class racer Menasheh Idafar is tied on points at the top of the table with rival James Cole.
With just a week to go until the next event, a return to the UK with a visit to the ultra-fast Thruxton Circuit in Hampshire, the 19-year-old confirmed his tremendous pace in this afternoon’s encounter with a superb fightback after an enforced pitstop on lap two due to a slow puncture.
Starting the race from 23rd position overall, second in class, Menasheh gained a couple of places but on lap two the fight over the National Class lead got a little too close for comfort when contact between Menasheh and Cole at the chicane led to the aforementioned rear puncture.
Losing a huge amount of time, Menasheh was well over 40 seconds shy of his rival when he rejoined the track but mounted an outstanding, determined fightback to eat into Cole’s advantage during the remainder of the 40-minute ‘feature’ race.
Consistently producing times up to two seconds a lap quicker than his T-Sport team-mate, by lap 12 Menasheh had closed to within half a minute of the class lead. Over the course of the final five laps, he halved Cole’s cushion again to close to within less than 16 seconds of him at the chequered flag – 20th position overall.
Although disappointed and frustrated not to have been able to fight for the class win, Menasheh still thoroughly enjoyed his time on track at the home of the Belgian Grand Prix and concluded his first ever experience of the circuit completely satisfied. His fastest class lap of 2m19.519 seconds was a full two seconds quicker than Cole’s best effort.
“It’s a shame we picked up the puncture in today’s race but overall it’s been a great weekend”, said the F3 rookie, “I really wanted to take all three class wins but to be equal on points with James (Cole) and to have won twice is still good. I’ve had a fantastic time at Spa, it’s an unbelievable track.”
The 2010 Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series returns to action next weekend, 7th/8th August, for the 19th, 20th and 21st rounds of the season at Thruxton – the second event in a bumper, back-to-back, three weekend run of F3 racing.