National Class Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series newcomer Menasheh Idafar continued his strong start to the pre-season at Rockingham today, Monday, 1st March, by once again heading the times during the first of two days’ testing at the Northamptonshire venue.

Following on from a terrific officially timed debut at Snetterton in Norfolk last week, the 18-year-old did another great job today at Rockingham’s 1.94-mile International Super Sports Car Circuit to set the National Class pace with a best time of 1m12.560 seconds (96.25mph).

Placing him 14th overall on combined timings, Menasheh’s quickest lap was 0.232 seconds faster than the best managed by nearest National Class competitor Ryo Haryanto – the 2009 Formula BMW Pacific Champion – and just 1.3 seconds shy of the outright International Class pace.

Lapping with a time of 1m12.810 seconds (95.92mph) in bright and dry conditions this morning, his first ever experience of Rockingham at the wheel of an F3 car, Menasheh improved by three 10ths of a second in session two at the wheel of his T-Sport run Dallara F307 Mugen-Honda.

“I’m happy with the start we made today, it’s been another positive test and I’m obviously really pleased to be the fastest National Class driver again”, he commented, “We need to keep working hard, and I need to find more time during tomorrow’s test, but we didn’t use brand new tyres today so I’m happy with my times. It’s been a good start for my first time at Rockingham in an F3 car.”

Rockingham’s International Super Sports Car Circuit will host the second day of this week’s official FOTA test tomorrow, Tuesday, 2nd March. Live timing can be followed at