Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series racer Menasheh Idafar secured his second class victory in as many races at Oulton Park today, Easter Monday, 5th April, but hopes of a hat-trick of successes were dashed due to an enforced retirement from round three.
After a relaxing day away from the track on Sunday, 4th April, the teams and drivers were back in action at the Cheshire venue’s 2.69-mile International Circuit this morning where the 19-year-old aimed to build on Saturday’s round one win.
Starting this morning’s 20-minute ‘Sprint’ race from 11th on the grid, as per his overall finishing position from round one, Menasheh did lose a couple of places to International Class runners Alex Brundle and Jay Bridger but coped well with the tricky, damp conditions to post a highly creditable 13th place result.
Leading the National Class throughout, the F3 rookie’s bid was helped further at mid-distance when rival, and T-Sport team-mate, James Cole retired following a spin on lap five. Impressively too, his fastest lap of 1m31.037 seconds (106.45mph) was just eight 10ths of a seconds shy of outright race winner Rupert Svendson-Cook’s best.
For the longer distance 40-minute third round, Menasheh started in 15th position but his hopes of more success disappeared on lap one after he was hit from behind as he rounded Shell Oils Hairpin on the outside line. The damage to the right-rear quarter of his car was sufficient to result in an immediate retirement.
“I’m disappointed to have been forced out of the third race but to take two class wins on my debut is great, said Menasheh, “I’ve really enjoyed the racing this weekend, it’s been a lot of fun and I’ve learned a lot too. The damp conditions were tricky in the sprint race but it was good experience for me. Overall it’s been a very positive weekend with some good racing.”
There is now a four-week break in action for the British F3 competitors with rounds four, five and six of the 2010 season taking place at Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit in Northamptonshire on 1st/2nd May.
Television highlights of the opening weekend of the year at Oulton Park will be screened in the UK on Channel 4 at 07.30 next Sunday, 11th April, with digital satellite and cable channel Motors TV broadcasting its first showing later in the day at 20.45. Replays will be shown throughout the week on Motors TV – please check listings for details.