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Archive for January, 2010

Menasheh Idafar will graduate to the Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series this year, racing one of T-Sport’s Mugen-Honda powered National Class cars.

The 18-year-old, who finished third overall in the 2009 Formula Renault UK Winter Championship with the Manor Competition team, conducted a handful of tests with Russell Eacott’s T-Sport squad towards the end of last year and immediately felt at home.

Menasheh’s first experience of a Formula 3 car came during the tail end of 2008 and although returning to race in Formula Renault UK throughout 2009, stepping-up to F3 has been his goal since that time.

Now, the promising teenager has been nominated to compete in the British championship at the wheel of one of T-Sport’s National Class Dallaras in response to an agreement for the Brackley-based team to advertise and promote Gulf Computer Services W.L.L.

“I’m so happy to be joining the British Formula 3 International Series grid this year, it’s what I’ve wanted to do since first testing an F3 car”, said Menasheh, “Everyone at T-Sport is fantastic, I get on really well with the team and that can only be good for the season ahead. Although last year didn’t go how we’d have hoped in Formula Renault, I showed what I was capable of in the winter series.”

T-Sport team principal Russell Eacott added: “We’re very happy to welcome Menasheh to the team and we’re sure he’ll be extremely competitive in this year’s National Class. During his first test with us last year we were stunned by the pace he showed, his lap times were very impressive.

“It’s good for us to sign a driver with Menasheh’s potential so early into the year, thanks to the conclusion of our deal to advertise and promote Gulf Computer Services W.L.L. Now the plan is for him to get as much mileage under his belt as possible before the start of the season in April.”

Expanding to 30 races for the 2010 season, the Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series calendar will take in visits to all of the UK’s premier motorsport venues along with overseas trips to no less than three Formula One circuits – Magny-Cours in France, Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium and Hockenheim in Germany.

The championship will commence on Easter weekend, 3rd/4th/5th April, at Oulton Park in Cheshire and will come to a conclusion on 25th/26th September at Brands Hatch Grand Prix Circuit in Kent.

DSC_9491The V8 Championship moved onto Round 3 which was to be held at the Al-Reem Circuit in Saudi Arabia. It was to be the first high-profile event to be held at the circuit and of course was the first race for Meezer Racing in their home country.

Meezer Racing Driver Coach Malcolm Edeson had already done some laps of the circuit so knew what to expect “it’s very technical and very different to anything else in the Middle-East, the cambers and elevation changes will be a real challenge for all drivers”

The first day was to feature a free-practice session and qualifying. It was encouraging to see Raed at the top of the timesheets as free-practice came to a close and the team were hopeful of pole-position.

QUALIFYING

Raed set an early marker with a very low 1:27 and then proceeded to register the fastest lap seen all weekend of a 1.26.9 almost a second faster than local driver Abdulaziz Al-Yaeesh. As it turned out Raed had set a number of very quick laps which saw him take pole position for both races with a back on form Abdulaziz taking 2nd position in both
races.

RACE 1

The V8 Championship features rolling starts and as the green light was given the thundering V8s headed towards turn 1, a very tight corner which the team were concerned about before the race, Driver Coach Malcolm Edeson said “It’s a heavy braking zone into a very slow right-hander, the drivers will need to be careful to judge their speed from the
rolling start and the potential for contact is very high, let’s hope everyone gets through there cleanly”.

Thankfully Raed and Abdulaziz dealt with it perfectly and a good run through the next few turns saw them with a good gap to the chasing pack who were fighting amongst themselves. By the end of lap one the gap was considerable and the rest of the race was a battle between Raed and Abdulaziz with Abdulaziz occasionally looking threatening but the

closing laps saw the gap extend as the Saudi drivers’ tyres began to give up their best. So, a great win for Raed Raffii in Race 1.

RACE 2

All the driver now had more experience of the track and all thought that race 2 would be much harder. Meezer Driver Coach Malcolm Edeson said “I think with 2 races in one day everyone was mindful to avoid damage, I’m sure the drivers’ will be going for it more in Race 2″.

Again Raed headed the field alongside Al-Yaeesh as the roar of the V8s sounded to 15 simultaneous right-feet stamped on the throttle pedals. This time Al-Yaeesh had drawn alongside and went for an audacious move around the outside of Turn 1 which paid off beautifully. A little too much speed saw Al-Yaeesh run wide at the Turn 4 hairpin and
Raed was able to power past the young Saudi. The cars were inches apart as they braked for the very tricky double left and a small tap from the Saudi driver pushed Raed offline which allowed him to gain the advantage as they approach the very fast left-right complex of Turns 6 & 7.

raeds-wheelRaed had to give best to Al-Yaeesh but in doing so was slowed into the corner allowing 2007/2008 Champion Fahad Al-Musalam to sneak alongside. Neither driver was going to give in and a side-by-side battle through and out of Turn 7 allowed Tarek ElGammal & Mohammed Al-Owais to pass both drivers. Raed tried hard to regain position and in the battle that followed made contact with Al-Owais in a 3-car Turn 1 battle. It was either this or the earlier contact with Al-Musalam that bent Raed’s steering and from then on the car was almost undriveable in right-hand turns. Raed lost 2 further positions whilst struggling with the wayward steering but valiantly fought back on the closing laps to repass those two drivers finally ! finishing in 6th position.

SUMMARY

The elation of Race 1 was dulled somewhat by the disappointment of Race 2 but points were still picked up and overall Raed is in a stronger position after the race than before. Coach Malcolm said “We are obviously disappointed with the result in race 2 but Raed did well to bring the car home and secure some points. The only thing certain in racing is
that nothing is certain. Yas Marina next were we hope Raed will again show the form that put him ahead of the rest of the Championship drivers in Qualifying”

The next race for the V8 Championship will be held at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu-Dhabi on 5-6th Feb 2010 supporting the GP2 Asia series. If you can make it please come along and support Meezer Racing Team and Raed Raffii as they strive to win the V8 Supercars Middle-East Championship.

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Meezer Racing Team http://www.MeezerTeam.com
V8 Supercars ME http://www.SupercarsME.com