Menasheh IdafarWith just over a week to go until the fourth race meeting of the 2011 Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series, front-running driver Menasheh Idafar is in high spirits after another positive test outing at Rockingham in Northamptonshire.

Concluding this week’s two-day officially timed run at the Corby venue pleased with his pace, the 20-year-old steered his Volkswagen-powered Dallara to within just 0.5 seconds of the top of the times today, Wednesday, 8th June.

After a solid opening on Tuesday, where he ended the first four sessions 10th fastest overall and within 0.6 seconds of the outright pace, the British-born Bahraini continued to make good progress this morning with a best time of 1m13.137 seconds (95.49mph) which came during session one.

Placing Menasheh just 0.5 seconds away from the head of the timing screens, he went on to produce a similarly strong lap of 1m13.293 seconds (95.28mph) in the second run to go seventh fastest for that particular session.

His afternoon best came in the fourth and final session with a lap of 1m13.517 seconds (94.99mph), capping off a consistently strong test for the Oulton Park podium finisher. All attention now turns to rounds 10, 11 and 12 of the season at Brands Hatch Grand Prix Circuit next weekend, 18th/19th June.

“We had another good run today and I’m quite happy with the gap to the front”, said Menasheh, “It would have been nice to be another couple of 10ths quicker but it was a really competitive day so to be half a second off isn’t bad. I can’t wait for Brands Hatch now, the GP circuit is a great track.”

Brands Hatch, of course, holds very fond memories for Menasheh. Not only was the Kent venue’s 2.3-mile Grand Prix Circuit the scene of his National Class (now ‘Rookie Class’) title triumph during the final round of the British F3 season last year, he also achieved his first outright podium in the championship with a memorable wet-weather drive to third place overall.

Following testing on Friday, 17th June, qualifying and round 10 of the 2011 Cooper Tires British F3 International Series will take place on Saturday, 18th June, at 10.45 and 14.45 respectively. On Sunday, 19th June, round 11 will get underway at 11.20 with round 12 following at 14.10.

Provisional 2011 Cooper Tires British F3 International Series Standings (after Rd9):
1st Felipe Nasr, 114pts; 12th Menasheh Idafar, 16pts

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.