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