British-born Bahraini Menasheh Idafar faced a catalogue of problems during the eighth and ninth rounds of the Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series at Snetterton 300 Circuit in Norfolk today, Sunday, 15th May, but still emerged with great credit after again displaying superb pace.
Prevented from mounting a points challenge during round seven on Saturday when forced off the circuit due to contact, the Dallara-Volkswagen driver had more difficulties during both of today’s encounters but did emerge from round nine with the third fastest lap of the race.
Lining-up 11th on the grid, after qualifying just over a second shy of pole position, Menasheh made a great start and looked comfortable in the top 10 prior to the emergence of the Safety Car on lap two – necessary after two cars made contact just metres from the start-line.
When the action resumed on lap four, the 20-year-old moved up into ninth position and a good run looked in progress but soon after a misfire developed which resulted in a significant loss of pace. He pitted at the end of his eighth lap and after rejoining a full two laps down Menasheh set about trying to get as close to the fastest lap as possible.
Gradually reducing his times, the T-Sport driver lapped quicker and quicker until on the 19th tour he posted his best effort of 1m40.544 seconds – just a single 10th of a second shy of race winner Kevin Magnussen’s fastest and the third best of the race. In the end, he finished an uncharacteristic 19th.
“We had really good pace again today but I could feel the misfire getting worse”, said Menasheh, “It’s really disappointing we haven’t taken the results we were capable of this weekend, it’s just been one of those events for us unfortunately.”
The earlier eighth round was pretty robust, contact at turn two leading Menasheh to make an enforced pit-stop for a new nose-cone. He had made a terrific getaway and enjoyed good, early gains but through the hairpin his car got slightly out of shape and contact was inevitable.
Losing a huge amount of time as he limped back to the pits, Menasheh rejoined the race about a lap and a half down on the race leaders and eventually had to settle for a 17th place finish. Again though, he proved his pace by setting the fifth fastest lap of the race – even with car damage.
Despite the race results not coming for Menasheh this weekend, the 2010 National Class Champion again served notice of his true pace in F3 and he’ll be keen to make amends when the championship resumes five weeks from now on 18th/19th June at Brands Hatch Grand Prix Circuit in Kent – the scene of his first outright podium in the series last year.