T-Sport’s Menasheh Idafar produced a terrific performance during the 11th round of the Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series at Brands Hatch Grand Prix Circuit today, Sunday, 19th June, to secure his second podium of the season – a mere 0.6 seconds shy of a maiden race victory.
Beginning the first of the day’s two races at the 2.43-mile Kent track on the front row of the ‘reverse’ grid, having finished in ninth place during round 10 on Saturday, the 20-year-old got away well in second place but a multi-car tangle on the start-line resulted in a lengthy Safety Car period.
When racing resumed on lap six, Menasheh had his best opportunity to try and wrest the lead from pole position starter Harry Tincknell but the leader made no mistakes into Paddock Hill Bend and kept the door closed.
Shadowing Tincknell closely for the remainder of the race, the British-born Bahraini was never more than 0.8 seconds behind and took the flag on lap 13 some 1.7 seconds clear of third placed finisher Carlos Huertas.
“I’m really happy to be back on the podium, it was a good race and we were really quick but I just couldn’t find a way past Harry (Tincknell)”, said Menasheh, “My best chance was at the re-start, it was then or not at all really, but he didn’t make a mistake. Second is great though, the team gave me a really good car and this is a good result for all of us.”
Round 12, the final race of the weekend, wasn’t as fruitful for the Dallara-Volkswagen driver when a potential top 10 finish went begging following an excursion into the gravel which led to a highly unfortunate retirement.
Heavy rain ahead of the race meant wet-weather settings and treaded tyres were the requirement and at the start Menasheh got away cleanly in his grid position of 13th place. Gradually working his way into the top 10 prior to a Safety Car period on lap nine, all looked good for another points finish but on lap 17 his race came to an early conclusion following a minor mistake.
Coupled with his ninth place finish on Saturday, Menasheh’s second position in the first of today’s races has enabled him to move into a clear 11th overall in the championship standings two points to the good over his closest rival.
There is now just a fortnight to wait until the next outing for British F3 with rounds 13, 14 and 15 of the 2011 season taking place at the Nurburgring in Germany over the weekend 2nd/3rd July.