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Archive for May, 2010

Menasheh IdafarMenasheh Idafar secured his fifth National Class victory of the 2010 Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series at Hockenheim in Germany this morning, Sunday, 30th May, to close to within just eight points of rival James Cole.

Starting round 12 from 19th place on the grid, one position behind his T-Sport team-mate, Menasheh got away well and made up a couple of positions during the first two laps to move to within a few 10ths of a second of Cole. Quickly setting about trying to take the National Class lead, Menasheh managed just that on lap three with a good pass before closing on F3 race winner Wayne Boyd.

Just like during round 11, Boyd proved a tough nut to crack and when attempting to pass him on lap 10, Menasheh had an unfortunate spin and subsequent stall. Losing around 40 seconds while firing up his car, the 19-year-old at least managed to rejoin and this proved crucial to the National Class battle when Cole had a spin himself – and retired – three laps from the end.

Coming through to finish 17th overall and with the National Class win, Menasheh also posted the quickest class lap of 1m36.744 seconds to gain an additional championship point. Heading into today’s 40-minute race 29 points adrift of Cole, the gap after round 12 is now just eight points.

“I was really pleased with my pace today, the car felt perfect”, said Menasheh, “Although it’s unfortunate for James (Cole), his spin helped me close him down in the points. I lost a lot of time when I had a spin trying to pass (Wayne) Boyd but in the end everything worked out. The team has been fantastic, we worked really hard to improve and to win again is great.”

Strongly capping off a weekend in which he improved his performance markedly over the course of the event, the first year Formula 3 racer is looking forward to a return to the UK circuits following two back-to-back European encounters.

There is now a lengthy seven week break in the calendar ahead of rounds 13, 14 and 15 of the 2010 Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series at Rockingham, near Corby in Northamptonshire, over the weekend 17th/18th July.

2010 Cooper Tires British F3 International Series ‘National Class’ standings:
1st James Cole, 163pts; 2nd Menasheh Idafar, 155pts

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography

Menasheh IdafarRounds 10 and 11 of the Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series produced a pair of very strong race drives from Menasheh Idafar at Hockenheim today, Saturday, 29th May – the National Class runner having to fight hard in both encounters but making terrific progress.

Battling tooth and nail with class championship leader James Cole throughout the first race of the weekend, the T-Sport pairing worked their way through the order well as several International Class drivers were given drive-through penalties for corner cutting.

Lining up ahead of Cole on the round 10 grid, Menasheh unfortunately slipped behind his team-mate at the start but remained glued to his rival’s tail up until lap 13 when he managed to find a way past with a good move at the hairpin to take the National Class lead. Bearing in mind the aforementioned penalties, the pass was also for an excellent ninth place overall.

Unfortunately, the 19-year-old ran wide a couple of turns later which allowed Cole back through but 10th position overall was still a fantastic result. Disappointment followed post-race though when Menasheh was given a 30-second penalty following his excursion – a confusing outcome considering he lost places in the process of running wide but a decision he accepted nonetheless.

“It was disappointing to get the penalty for running wide when I lost places through it but we have to accept the decision of the officials”, he commented, “Even so, we had a good race and to get into the top 10 overall on track was really good and showed the progress we’ve made.”

With the finishing order of the opening race setting the grid for round 11, Menasheh had a huge fight on his hands to try and get anywhere close to Cole – a full nine positions splitting them. Getting away well from the ninth row and moving past a couple of cars, the British-born Bahraini went wide at the first corner and subsequently slipped to last place as his dirty tyres struggled for grip.

Making up ground quickly, Menasheh delivered some superb lap times and after climbing into 18th position overall on lap four he set about catching British F3 returnee Wayne Boyd. Rapidly closing on the Northern Irishman, Menasheh was within four 10ths of a second of him at the end of the ninth tour – having been held up for several laps – and managed to find a way past on lap 10.

Quickly pulling clear of Boyd, his next target on track was National Class leader Cole but he was a full five seconds in the distance at this point – a task which looked too tall an order to accomplish with only three laps remaining.

Lapping with superb pace, faster than at least half a dozen of the International Class runners ahead, Menasheh ate into Cole’s advantage and from being five seconds adrift at the end of lap 11, he closed to within just 0.7 seconds of his rival at the chequered flag on lap 13.

“I made a great start to race two but went wide at the first corner, I lost grip and slipped back”, said the teenage F3 rookie, “The car was fantastic though, it felt really good. I got stuck behind (Wayne) Boyd for a while but when I got past him I was able to catch James (Cole) really quickly. I’m really pleased with the pace we had, it was an enjoyable race.”

Menasheh will be back in action at Hockenheim at 10.30 (local time) tomorrow, Sunday, 30th May, for round 12 of the 2010 Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series. Live timing from Hockenheim can be followed at

2010 Cooper Tires British F3 International Series ‘National Class’ standings (after Rd11):
1st James Cole, 163pts; 2nd Menasheh Idafar, 134pts

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.

Menasheh IdafarBritish Formula 3 competitor Menasheh Idafar will start from National Class pole position for the first of this weekend’s three races – round 10 – at Hockenheim after an extremely tight qualifying session this afternoon, Friday, 28th May.

Visiting the home of the German Grand Prix for the first time in his short career, the 19-year-old was very evenly matched with National Class points leader James Cole throughout the half hour period and only missed out on pole position for round 12 by a mere 0.003 seconds. The grid for round 11, of course, will be set from the finishing order of Saturday morning’s opening race.

While his fastest lap of the run, 1m35.546 seconds (172.340 km/h), wasn’t quite enough to emerge quickest of all in the National Class during qualifying, Menasheh’s consistency was good and this was borne out when his second best time – 1m35.763 seconds – clinched the class pole for round 12.

Menasheh, who has four class victories to his credit so far during his rookie F3 campaign, worked hard with the T-Sport team throughout pre-event practice to learn the challenging track and ended qualifying reasonably satisfied with his performance.

“I’m fairly happy”, said the British-born Bahraini, “It was very close with James (Cole) so I’m sure all three races will be really exciting. During the first part of qualifying things felt good but after a red flag stoppage part way through, I made a few mistakes so couldn’t improve”.

With, literally, nothing to choose between the T-Sport team-mates so far this weekend, all three Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series races at Hockenheim should provide plenty of close action.

Round 10 is currently timetabled to begin at 13.25 (local time) tomorrow, Sunday, 29th May, with round 11 following at around 17.50. The 12th round of the season is then scheduled to get underway at 10.30 on Sunday, 30th May.

Live timing from Hockenheim can be followed at

2010 Cooper Tires British F3 International Series ‘National Class’ standings:
1st James Cole, 132pts; 2nd Menasheh Idafar, 108pts

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography

Raed RaffiiA press conference was held at the Home of Motorsport in the Middle East where the winner of the 2009-10 season of the Chevrolet Supercars ME Championship, Fahad Al Musalam, received his prize of a three day test session in Australia with Australia V8 Supercars team Paul Morris. Al Musalam won the series following a heated season which was full of on track action as the championship toured the Middle East, visiting several locations around the GCC. It was announced that Al Musalam will be giving his prize away to fellow competitor Raed Raffii in an effort to give yet another Bahraini driver exposure in the international limelight. Al Musalam was joined at the speaker’s table by Championship Organizer Sherif Al Mahdy and Bahraini racing prodigy Raed Raffii.

Sherif Al Mahdy, Championship Organizer of the Chevrolet Supercars ME Championship, stated; “I would like to express my deepest thanks to all members of the media who have been present throughout the season and supported the championship. Without your assistance the series would not be the regional success it is today. The prize for the winner of this year’s season will be a three day test session, taking place in Australia as part of the Australia V8 Supercars Championship. The first day of the test session will include 30 laps at Norwell in a level two Superschool car, allowing Raed the opportunity to adapt to the right hand drive. The second day will include a guest driver spot at an official test day, while the third day will be the actual test session at Queensland Raceway Circuit in a V8 Supercar with the renowned team Paul Morris. This year’s prize will be something very special and extraordinary as Martin Whitaker is now part of the Australia V8 Supercars Championship. The prize will provide international exposure for not only the winner, but will also highlight the motorsport potential which is growing at a tremendous rate in the Middle East through series such as the Chevrolet Supercars ME Championship.

Title holder Al Musalam commented, “this is the second consecutive title I have won and received the prize for. Last year I was fortunate enough to travel to Australia and test with the Gary Rogers racing team, which was an invaluable experience and helped my development as a driver. I feel it is important to give other local drivers this opportunity too, and this is why I would like to give the test session to Raed Raffii. I am very happy to give him this opportunity and he will learn a lot from it. I would like to express my thanks to Shaikh Salman bin Isa Al Khalifa, Sherif Al Mahdy and all those who have shown their support for me throughout this season.

Raed Raffii stated, “I am very happy to receive this prize from Fahad. I am very proud to be able to represent the Kingdom of Bahrain in Australia and demonstrate the potential we have here for motorsport. My thanks go out to Fahad, Shaikh Salman and Sherif for making this opportunity possible for me. I will present Bahrain in the best light possible during the test session and will give a good performance. It is an opportunity of a life time and I am sure I will learn much from it.

Raed Raffii will be traveling with Championship Organizer Sherif Al Mahdy in June to Australia. The test session will take place at the Queensland Raceway Circuit with the Paul Morris racing team and has been fully paid by Bahrain International Circuit. Shaikh Salman Bin Isa Al Khalifa, Acting CEO of Bahrain International Circuit, expressed his delight for Raffii’s opportunity and wished him good luck for the test session.

Bahrain International Circuit

Menasheh IdafarT-Sport’s Menasheh Idafar was in the thick of the action at Magny-Cours in France today, Sunday, 23rd May, during rounds eight and nine of the Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series, but an unfortunate puncture and problems with serious oversteer compromised the eventual outcome.

Lining up 11th on the grid overall for this morning’s short 20-minute sprint race, thanks to his finishing position in Saturday’s encounter, the 19-year-old National Class challenger was only able to post an 18th position finish – second in class – when forced to pit early-on following a puncture.

Round eight was actually red flagged following a lap three accident involving Jazeman Jaafar and James Calado. Unfortunately for Menasheh though, things didn’t go well at the re-start when contact on lap one led to an enforced pit-stop. Recovering to the track a lap down, he at least managed to score vital championship points and post the fastest National Class lap by 0.4 seconds.

Problems with understeer and a badly flat-spotted tyre caused the Formula 3 rookie unsurprising difficulties as the 40-minute ninth round progressed. Heading the National Class for two thirds of the eventual race distance, he couldn’t quite hold on to the chequered flag and was unable to prevent points leader James Cole from going through on lap 17.

Even though hampered by understeer problems, Menasheh once again posted the quickest National Class lap at the wheel of his Mugen-Honda powered car. Furthermore, by recording finishes in all three of this weekend’s races he secured a total of 47 points to stay in touch with team-mate Cole.

“Today was pretty tough, the puncture in the first race meant we didn’t have a chance and in the second race I had really bad understeer and a flat-spotted tyre which made things difficult”, said the British-born Bahraini, “The understeer got worse and worse, I just couldn’t hold on to the class lead in the end. At least we finished all three races this weekend and took away some good points.”

Menasheh now travels from France to Hockenheim, the home of the FIA Formula One World Championship’s German Grand Prix, for rounds 10, 11 and 12 of the British F3 season next weekend, 28th/29th/30th May.

2010 Cooper Tires British F3 International Series ‘National Class’ standings:
1st James Cole, 132pts; 2nd Menasheh Idafar, 108pts

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.

Menasheh IdafarMenasheh Idafar produced a strong race drive during the seventh round of the 2010 Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series at Magny-Cours in France today, Saturday, 22nd May, to claim his fourth National Class victory of the season.

Although a near-stall at the start of the 30-minute outing meant he slipped back a couple of places into the first corner, the F3 rookie fought back well to catch, and then pass, National Class championship leader James Cole with five laps remaining to seal his fourth win from seven races.

Lining up second in class and 18th overall on the grid for his first ever race at Magny-Cours, even though he didn’t get away cleanly Menasheh quickly gained two race positions following retirements for team-mate Alex Brundle and Lucas Foresti. He then re-passed Max Snegirev and Rio Haryanto on lap four, the drivers who got ahead of him at the start, to move into 14th place overall.

Lapping quicker than Cole ahead, the T-Sport pairing were split by 2.4 seconds on the seventh tour but Menasheh managed to close the gap down to just 0.8 seconds by the end of lap 11. Making his move to take the National Class lead on lap 15, Menasheh sealed the pass and proceeded to open up a one second advantage on his way to the chequered flag – finishing in 11th position overall.

“I’m really pleased to win again”, said Menasheh, “I almost stalled at the start and a couple of cars got by me, so I had to fight hard to try and get the places back and to also try and catch James (Cole). Halfway through the race I didn’t think I’d be able to make up the gap but I did and got the lead about five laps from the end.

“Magny-Cours is a great track, I really like it and I think it’s probably one of my favourite circuits. You always have something to do and it’s a challenge to get all of the corners right. So far things have gone quite well, hopefully we can push for another win tomorrow.”

This morning’s qualifying session resulted in Menasheh posting the 16th fastest time overall, the top National Class runner, for the third of the weekend’s races – round nine – so that is where he will start Sunday afternoon’s 40-minute encounter. Thanks to his fine overall finish during today’s race, the British-born Bahraini will begin tomorrow morning’s eighth round from 11th on the grid.

Round eight of the 2010 Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series will get underway at 10.00 (local time) tomorrow, Sunday, 23rd May, with round nine following at around 15.40.

2010 Cooper Tires British F3 International Series ‘National Class’ standings (after Rd7):
1st James Cole, 102pts; 2nd Menasheh Idafar, 81pts

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography

Menasheh IdafarTeenage British Formula 3 competitor Menasheh Idafar made an impressive start to the third race weekend of the 2010 season at Magny-Cours in France today, Friday, 21st May, after comfortably setting the National Class pace during pre-event testing.

Menasheh, who drives a Mugen-Honda powered Dallara F307 for Brackley-based T-Sport, produced a highly competitive showing on his first ever visit to the former home of the FIA Formula One World Championship’s French Grand Prix by posting a quickest time of 1m35.539 seconds (166.21mph).

Completing a total of 49 laps of the 4.4-kilometre venue during this afternoon’s three hour session, the 19-year-old F3 rookie headed National Class championship leader James Cole by eight 10ths of a second and was also within 0.2 seconds of the overall top 10 in 12th place.

“Today’s been good, it was great to be competitive on my first ever time at Magny-Cours”, said the British-born Bahraini, “ We did a lot of work today, it was a good start to the weekend, so hopefully we can qualify well tomorrow and go on to have three strong races.”

Today’s action marked the start of two, back-to-back weekends of racing in Europe for the Cooper Tires British F3 International Series competitors with the home of Formula One’s German Grand Prix, Hockenheim, hosting rounds 10, 11 and 12 of the season on 28th/29th/30th May.

Returning to this weekend’s action, qualifying at Magny-Cours will take place at 10.15 (local time) tomorrow, Saturday, 22nd May, with the first of the weekend’s races – round seven – following at around 14.00. On Sunday, 23rd May, round eight will get underway at 09.15 with round nine expected to commence at approximately 15.40.

2010 Cooper Tires British F3 International Series ‘National Class’ standings:
1st James Cole, 86pts; 2nd Menasheh Idafar, 61pts

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.

A group of kiwi racing drivers will once again trade the race track for the gym in an effort to raise funds for the World Vision 40 Hour Famine, which takes place in just over a fortnight on May 21-23.

Back for a second year, the 2010 NZ Motorsport Trainathon see 2009 participants Jono Lester and Alastair Wootten joined by three new faces to fitness train for 40 hours non-stop at the Millennium Institute of Sport & Health on the North Shore of Auckland.

Completed successfully for the first time in 2009, Lester and Wootten decided in early February to give the challenge another crack, and go ‘bigger and better’ in every respect, including a hefty target of raising $10,000 for the charity.

It didn’t take long for others to put their hands up, and the 2010 NZ Motorsport Trainathon has a diverse team of participants from all walks of motorsport life. They include:

- Jono Lester, 20, a Porsche GT3 driver and recent winner of a Porsche Junior Scholarship.

- Alastair Wootten, 20, a former Speedsport Scholarship winner and Toyota Racing Series driver.

- Richie Stanaway, 18, 2008/09 NZ Formula Ford Champion and current ADAC Formula Master points leader.

- Andrew Vincent, 16, a national quad racing champion and Formula First front runner.

- Sam Robinson, 21, a rookie in the 2009/10 Suzuki Swift Sport Cup and top-5 finisher at the 2010 Hamilton 400.

The five young athletes will push their physical and mental boundaries throughout the event (which has no resting or relaying) with a schedule including cardio fitness, weight training, athletics track work and drills, rock climbing, swimming, water polo, water walking, dance class, boxing, yoga, weightlifting, dodgeball, soccer, the new dance craze ‘Zumba’ and even some Nintendo Wii fit!

Utilising the Millennium Institute’s fantastic facilities and personnel, the team will also spend time training with Olympic and Commonwealth Games athletes throughout the 40 hours, including Olympic swimming start Moss Burmester, the Commonwealth Games weightlifters and former Games walking Silver Medallist Tony Sargisson.

With the participants aware of what is in store for them this time around, the event preparation has been lifted in professionalism, with the Trainathon team working directly with the marketing teams at the Millennium Institute and World Vision New Zealand to get the most out of this unique challenge.

1273465257Helen Carter, World Vision’s 40 Hour Famine Manager, said the heartland of 40 Hour Famine is going without food, but it’s exciting to see young Kiwis finding challenging and creative ways to do the Famine. Last year, two world records and a national record were set, including the Trainathon.

“We are inspired by the enthusiasm of the Trainathon team who have decided to give the 40 Hour Famine another go. It’s great to see such talented young men behind our cause, and motivating others to get involved!” added Helen.

As with any charity event, the Trainathon relies on the generous donations and sponsorship of others, be it a personal donation of a full sponsorship of the event on a larger level.

“We treat this a little like raising money for a race event, to be honest, and with that in mind we all know what we’re doing. We encourage anyone to donate to the cause online [below] – it doesn’t matter if it’s $5 or $50 – but we also have a heck of a lot to offer those who want to sponsor the event on a larger level,” Lester said.

“Sponsorship can come in the form of a cash donation or the donation of product to on-sell via charity auction – whatever it takes to make up that $10,000 target!”

The team encourage anyone interested in sponsoring the Trainathon to contact them directly at – information on media support and sponsor recognition is ready to be distributed.

The 2010 NZ Motorsport Trainathon has also gone viral, with the public able to keep up to date with via the Official website, Facebook and Twitter pages, and YouTube diaries every hour of the event.

The Trainathon represents a monumental personal challenge for each of its participants, but they remain upbeat about the task ahead:

“You only live once, so why not go down to the gym for 40 hours, and help others while you do so!” Robinson said.

Vincent added; “From seeing what the boys did last year I wanted to give this a go as it’s for a great cause, and a great way to have fun with my mates in the process. Bring it on!”

Online donations to the Trainathon can be made by visiting

The 2010 NZ Motorsport Trainathon commences at 04:00pm on Friday May 21, finishing at 08:00am on Sunday May 23.

Menasheh IdafarCooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series competitor Menasheh Idafar secured the third National Class victory of his maiden season at Silverstone Arena Grand Prix Circuit today, Sunday, 2nd May, with a hard-fought performance in tricky, wet conditions.

Bouncing back well from a disappointing first day on Saturday, 1st May, where an incident on the grid ruled him out of round four before it even started, the T-Sport driver produced a strong showing in round five where he passed National Class points leader James Cole with a couple of laps to go to take the win by two seconds.

Starting the wet encounter at the back of the grid due to Saturday’s accident, the 19-year-old delivered an excellent drive during the short 10-lap ‘sprint race’ and carved his way through the order well. Tagging on to the back of Cole by lap seven, Menasheh passed his team-mate on the ninth tour and pulled clear to make amends for the round four disappointment.

For round six Menasheh lined up with the National Class pole position, 17th on the grid overall, and led comfortably until contact from International Class runner Rio Haryanto on lap four forced him off the circuit.

Recovering strongly, Menasheh chased down Cole – who had inherited the class lead – and finished just seven 10ths of a second shy at the flag in 18th position overall. Earning another good points haul for second in class, the British-born Bahraini is now 25 points shy of Cole in the driver standings.

“It was great to get another class win today, I really enjoyed the wet race and I think we showed we had really good pace”, said Menasheh, “The contact from (Rio) Haryanto in round six knocked me out of the lead but we came through well, I pushed really hard over the last few laps to try and catch James (Cole). It’s been a mixed weekend for us but there are still 24 races to go – it’s a long season.”

There is now a three week break in the British Formula 3 calendar with rounds seven, eight and nine taking place at Magny-Cours in France over the weekend 22nd/23rd May – Menasheh’s first ever experience of the FIA Formula One World Championship venue.

2010 Cooper Tires British F3 International Series ‘National Class’ standings:
1st James Cole, 86pts; 2nd Menasheh Idafar, 61pts

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.