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Driver Database News

The latest news from the world of racing


Archive for February, 2010

Promising Formula 3 rookie Menasheh Idafar delivered another noteworthy performance at Snetterton today, Thursday, 25th February, as the opening officially timed test of the Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series pre-season came to a close.

Building on a great performance at the Norfolk track yesterday, the National Class newcomer continued to underline his wet-weather pace this morning before lapping within just 0.9 seconds of the outright International Class times this afternoon in dry conditions.

Although fully wet at the beginning of today’s first session, the 1.95 mile circuit dried throughout the morning meaning teams were ultimately presented with the opportunity to run cars on slick tyres during the final stages of the three-hour session.

Having positioned himself well in the overall top 10 for the majority of the morning, Menasheh and his T-Sport team went on to take full advantage of the late window for slicks. He emerged as the top National Class driver, a superb third fastest overall, with a lap of 1m04.680 seconds (108.64mph).

The afternoon started dry and times continued to tumble with the 18-year-old steering his Dallara F307 Mugen-Honda to a best time of 1m03.029 seconds (111.49mph). Placing him over three 10ths of a second clear in the National Class battle, Menasheh concluded the day 14th overall on combined times – just 0.920 seconds shy of Daisuke Nakajima’s outright International Class best.

Aiming to improve on his final run on fresh rubber, Menasheh was unlucky to catch a small puddle at Riches Corner as he headed into his flying lap and the resulting excursion meant he wasn’t able to try and dip below the 1m03 second mark.

He commented: “This morning was really good again and to be less than a second outside the best time of the International Class front-runners in the dry this afternoon was great. I’m really happy with how the first test has gone, I’ve learned a lot and made some good progress.”

Next on the pre-season calendar for Menasheh is a visit to Rockingham in Northamptonshire next week for the second FOTA test on Monday, 1st March, and Tuesday, 2nd March.

Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series graduate Menasheh Idafar made an impressive start to his F3 career during the first officially timed test of the pre-season at Snetterton in Norfolk today, Wednesday, 24th February.

At the wheel of T-Sport’s Gulf Computer Services W.L.L liveried National Class Dallara Mugen-Honda, the 18-year-old ended the rain-affected day an excellent seventh fastest overall, emerging as the quickest of the National competitors and also outpacing a dozen International Class runners.

Menasheh certainly shone during the wet three-hour morning session, concluding the opening period with a lap of 1m11.706 seconds (97.99mph) to secure a spot in the overall top six. Importantly, he was also 1.4 seconds faster than new team-mate and fellow National Class runner James Cole – the reigning UK Formula Ford Champion.

During the drier two-hour afternoon session Menasheh was again inside the top 10, this time with a lap of 1m12.503 seconds (96.92mph), placing him just three 10ths of a second behind Alex Brundle in T-Sport’s Volkswagen-powered International Class entry and 0.6 seconds ahead of Cole.

“Everything went really well for us this morning and although I didn’t quite get my last few laps right this afternoon, it was still a good session”, he said, “The T-Sport car is excellent in the wet, I’m really pleased with how my first official test in Formula 3 has gone. It’s only the first day, so we’re not getting carried away, but it’s a good, consistent start for us.”

T-Sport team principal Russell Eacott added: “Snetterton was Menasheh’s fabled track from last year during the Formula Renault Winter Championship and F3 testing, so we did expect him to have a good day and he certainly delivered. There’s a lot of hard work to do to keep moving forward as the other guys will obviously get faster and faster but it’s a good base to start from, we’re happy.”

Officially timed British Formula 3 International Series pre-season testing continues at Snetterton Circuit tomorrow, Thursday, 25th February.

Ezra Idafar made his first visit to the top step of a Chevrolet Supercars ME Championship podium at Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi on Saturday, 20th February, with an outstanding debut class win during the 10th round of the season.

As the youngest driver in the championship, the 17-year-old Bahraini’s fantastic victory meant a piece of Chevrolet Supercars ME history was made at the 5.5km track – a tremendous result which consolidated fourth position in the SC06 Development Class driver standings.

Realistically, the Gulf Computer Services-backed racer should have enjoyed a double victory over the weekend but he was forced out of the opening encounter just a lap and a half from the chequered flag while leading his class. Having seen off the challenge of Faisal Raffii, a clutch failure resulted in a disappointing retirement but he bounced back tremendously in race two.

“I’m so pleased to finally get my first class win in Chevrolet Supercars”, said Ezra, “We really should have had two wins this weekend but the clutch problem in race one meant it wasn’t to be. I was so determined to take the win in the second race after the race one retirement, it was a great battle with Faisal (Raffii). The win was the perfect way to end the weekend at Yas Marina.”

Ezra made his intentions felt immediately during Free Practice on Friday, 19th February, by setting the fastest SC06 lap of 2m22.152 seconds. During qualifying he went on to secure a class front row start for round nine while his second best lap of the session placed him third in class on the grid for round 10.

Although the first Chevrolet Supercars race, which ran in support of the opening round of the 2010 Australian V8 Supercars Championship, resulted in another mechanical failure for Ezra’s car, he proved his credentials beyond any doubt. Without the clutch issue he would almost certainly have achieved his maiden class victory during round nine.

Determined to make amends in race two, Ezra battled tooth and nail with experienced class points leader Raffii, the lead changing hands several times. From mid-distance, Ezra took control in his Gulf Computer Services-backed 6.0-litre Lumina and went on to claim his first career win in the category by a margin of 5.5 seconds. In doing so, he also ended Raffii’s eight race winning streak.

There is now a three week break in the race calendar with rounds 11 and 12 of the 2009/2010 Chevrolet Supercars ME Championship taking place on Saturday, 13th March, and Sunday, 14th March, at the Bahrain International Circuit – Ezra’s home track – as support to the opening event of the 2010 FIA Formula One World Championship.

Provisional 2009 Chevrolet Supercars ME Championship ‘Development Class’ Points:
1st Faisal Raffii, 70pts; 2nd Alqassim Hamidaddin, 40pts; 3rd Husam Al-Saleh, 35pts;
4th Ezra Idafar, 29pts

Bahraini teenager Ezra Idafar made an excellent return to action during the fourth race meeting of the 2009/2010 Chevrolet Supercars ME Championship in Abu Dhabi over the weekend – two class podiums lifting him into fourth position in the SC06 Development Class driver standings.

Kicking off the season with two podiums during the 2009 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix weekend last October, the 17-year-old impressed once again on his return to the fabulous Yas Marina facility, having missed the previous two rounds in Saudi Arabia last month.

Showing no signs of track rust, Ezra’s start to the GP2 Asia Series-supporting event was nonetheless compromised by mechanical problems with his 6.0-litre Lumina during free practice on Friday, 5th February, which resulted in very little track time.

An eventual transmission failure meant the car needed to be repaired prior to qualifying but with only an hour between sessions, Ezra’s Chevrolet was only able to run during the final few minutes where he did a great job to secure the fifth fastest time in class with just one flying lap.

Producing a terrific performance during the opening race on Friday afternoon, the youngest driver in the championship climbed through the order very well to finish runner-up in the Development Class, eighth position overall, a mere two seconds behind points leader Faisal Raffii. Ezra also posted a highly competitive best lap of 2m39.300 seconds.

Race two on Saturday, 6th February, produced another podium – Ezra’s fourth of the season – with a fine third place class finish, eighth overall again. He also went one better than the first encounter in terms of lap times, posting the best SC06 Class effort of 2m39.288 seconds. Combining his scores, the teenager is now just seven points outside the top three in the Development Class standings.

Ezra said: “It’s great to be back on the podium again, the weekend was difficult with the problems in practice and qualifying but both races went well for me. Even though I missed the previous event in Saudi Arabia and had two non-finishes in Bahrain in December, we’re still in quite a good position in the SC06 Class championship.”

There are only two weeks to wait until the fifth race meeting of the 2009/2010 Chevrolet Supercars ME Championship takes place on Friday, 19th February, and Saturday, 20th February. Once again, the event will be staged at the Yas Marina facility in Abu Dhabi but will this time act as support to the opening round of the 2010 Australian V8 Supercars Championship.

Provisional 2009 Chevrolet Supercars ME Championship ‘Development Class’ Points:
1st Faisal Raffii, 56pts; 2nd Alqassim Hamidaddin, 34pts; 3rd Husam Al-Saleh, 27pts;
4th Ezra Idafar, 20pts