Round 25 of the Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series went completely to plan for Menasheh Idafar at Snetterton Circuit in Norfolk this afternoon, Sunday, 29th August, as he eased to a comfortable National Class victory – the 13th win of his rookie F3 campaign.
Torrential rain ahead of the weekend’s first encounter resulted in a delay to the race timetable and also meant all of the drivers lined up on the grid with treaded, wet weather tyres. When the action finally got underway though, Menasheh didn’t make the start he wanted from the class pole position and slipped behind chief rival James Cole on the run to the first corner, Riches.
Determined to get back ahead as quickly as possible, the 19-year-old passed his T-Sport team-mate at turn two, Sear, and from that point on he was never headed. Initially trading quickest National Class lap times with Cole, Menasheh began to stamp his authority on proceedings as a drying line became ever more visible and at the mid-point of the race he held a two second advantage.
Pumping in quicker and quicker lap times, the British-born Bahraini moved up the overall order into 14th position as a couple of International Class runners hit problems and by lap 20 his lead over Cole was more than eight seconds.
Cole made a late-race pit-stop to switch to slick tyres with the track drying at an ever faster rate and this, unsurprisingly, enabled him to snatch away the bonus points for the fastest National Class lap. Even so, Menasheh’s impressive win – finishing in 15th place overall – means he has now closed to within just five points of Cole in the race for the 2010 British Formula 3 National Class title.
“The conditions were really bad about half an hour before the race, it was like a hurricane!”, said Menasheh, “When the race started though the track dried really quickly. My start wasn’t so good, I didn’t get away well at all and lost a place to James but into Sear I re-passed him and then went from there. It was a good race and now we’ve got the gap down to five points which is great.”
Round 26 of the 2010 Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series will take place at around 10.40 tomorrow, Bank Holiday Monday, 30th August, with the 27th round of the campaign expected to start at approximately 14.40.
Menasheh will start the first race from 15th on the grid, the National Class pole position, thanks to his result from this afternoon’s encounter. For round 27 he will line up on pole again, 16th overall, due to the fact he posted the best National Class lap of 1m01.849 seconds (113.61mph) in qualifying.