Menasheh Idafar sealed his sixth National Class win of the 2010 Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series season at Rockingham this afternoon, Saturday, 17th July, to close to within just two points of the championship lead.
Producing a very well judged and impressive performance, the 19-year-old started round 13 from 16th on the grid – second in class – but quickly moved up into the top 15 and the class lead before gaining a further position on lap two to take 14th place from International Class runner Pietro Fantin.
Comfortably matching the pace of the faster International Class cars ahead, Menasheh ran close behind the dueling pair of Rupert Svendsen-Cook and Lucas Foresti but his progress was slightly hampered at mid-distance when the recovering Jazeman Jaafar made his way back past after an earlier spin.
The Malaysian had another moment on lap 11 though, this time leading to retirement, so Menasheh moved into 13th position overall where he would remain to the chequered flag on lap 24. Crossing the line just 1.5 seconds adrift of Foresti, the T-Sport driver was 2.5 seconds ahead of National Class title rival James Cole.
In addition to closing down Cole’s advantage in the driver standings to just two points ahead of Sunday’s pair of races at Rockingham, the British-born Bahraini also posted the fastest National Class lap in round 13 with a time of 1m14.550 seconds (93.68mph).
“I’m really pleased to win, it was a good race and it was great to be able to stay with the faster cars ahead”, said Menasheh, “There wasn’t a real chance to try and get ahead of (Lucas) Foresti but the important thing was to make sure I beat James (Cole), that’s why I didn’t fight with (Jazeman) Jaafar when he came back through after his spin.”
For tomorrow’s 14th round of the campaign, which will see pit-stops feature in a British F3 race for the first time in the category’s history, Menasheh will line-up 13th on the grid due to his finishing position from today’s race.
For the headline 40-minute 15th round, he will start 16th on the grid, the National Class pole, thanks to his quickest lap in qualifying of 1m13.266 seconds (95.32mph) – just over a 10th of a second faster than Cole’s best time of the session.
Tomorrow’s first Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series race will get underway at 11.00 with the second encounter following at around 14.25.