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Menasheh Idafar - Silverstone GPAnglo-Bahraini racer Menasheh Idafar produced the stand-out performance during the penultimate round of the Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series at Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit today, Sunday, 9th October, with a truly remarkable drive from 19th on the grid to fourth place.

Starting the first of the day’s two races on the 10th row by virtue of his finishing position during round 28 on Saturday afternoon, the T-Sport driver took the decision to change to treaded tyres on the grid due to the track surface being incredibly slippery after earlier rain.

Proving to be the perfect call, Menasheh made a sensational start and rocketed up the order with some brilliantly brave overtaking around the outside of Copse Corner and quickly scythed his way through into the top five before deposing the slick-tyre shod car of 2011 British F3 Champion Felipe Nasr for fourth position.

Lapping as the quickest driver during the early stages, the 20-year-old continued to produce very impressive times throughout and consolidated fourth place very comfortably to finish just over four seconds shy of the podium – a truly sensational performance. Menasheh was actually the third best placed championship regular with race winner Alexander Sims making a one-off outing.

“I made a really good start and just went around the outside of all of them”, said Menasheh, “Before I knew it, I was in fourth place – it was amazing! On the lap out of the pits I thought it looked like it was going to dry fast but the places where you needed to accelerate you just couldn’t, so we went with the wets and it was definitely the right call.”

In round 30, the final race of the championship, Menasheh lined-up 18th on the grid and after an action-packed opening lap he made his way up the order impressively into 13th position but slipped to 14th on lap three after almost locking wheels with Fahmi Ilyas at the exit of Brooklands.

On lap 11 he regained 13th when Jack Harvey was handed a drive-through penalty and although shuffled back a position on lap 14, he again benefitted when Scott Pye also received a penalty four laps from the finish and so moved back once again into 13th place which he held to the flag.

Primary school competition winners cheer-on Idafar and T-Sport…
Menasheh and the T-Sport team had some extra support for the final weekend of the season with a group of lucky competition winners from St Matthias Primary School in Malvern, Worcestershire, attending the event as special guests.

Following an educational visit to the school back in May, during which pupils were set a challenge of designing a racing buggy, 12 youngsters were selected to have produced the best work. Along with the prize of visiting the home of the British Grand Prix to watch Menasheh in action, they also had the chance to see their own names on the livery of his Dallara-Volkswagen.

Having been close to adding a fourth podium to his season’s tally today, the 2010 National Class Champion ended his first year in the headline International Class of British F3 in 14th position overall, just three points shy of the top 12.

Final 2011 Cooper Tires British F3 International Series Standings:
14th Menasheh Idafar, 48pts

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.

Menasheh Idafar - Silverstone GPMenasheh Idafar produced an excellent drive during round 28 of the Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series at Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit this afternoon, Saturday, 8th October, before an unfortunate drive-through penalty cost him a well deserved 12th place finish.

Starting the race down in 18th position due to major oversteer problems in the morning qualifying session, the 20-year-old multiple podium finisher was determined to get a good start and did just that with a fantastic getaway.

Passing several cars on the run to the first corner, Copse, Menasheh steered his Dallara-Volkswagen into 14th place on lap one and although slipping to 15th on lap two behind Hywel Lloyd, both drivers gained a couple of spots at the expense of others on lap four with Menasheh rising into 13th position.

Pressuring Lloyd hard, while also repelling the advances of Fahmi Ilyas behind, the Anglo-Bahraini then moved into the top 12 on lap seven following a spin at the exit of Becketts for interloping GP3 Series front-runner Mitch Evans.

Continuing comfortably in 12th place, as the race passed into its final third championship officials decreed Menasheh wasn’t adhering to the track limits sufficiently at Stowe Corner and therefore served him with a drive-through penalty.

Disappointed with the decision, the T-Sport driver had no option but to serve the drive-through which he did at the conclusion of the penultimate lap. Re-emerging from the pitlane in 19th place, Menasheh did manage to close right up behind Adderley Fong on the final lap to cross the line just 0.2 seconds adrift.

“It’s really disappointing we had the penalty as it had been quite a good race, I made a really good start and passed a few cars straight away”, said Menasheh, “I’m not sure why they thought I had gone too wide at Stowe, I drove it the same as in qualifying, but you have to accept the penalty. It’s a tough way for the race to end and means we have a hard fight ahead in both races tomorrow.”

Round 29 of the Cooper Tires British F3 International Series is scheduled to get underway just before 10.10 tomorrow, Sunday, 9th October, with round 30 following at around 16.10. Both of the races will receive live television coverage on cable and digital satellite channel Motors TV – please check www.motorstv.com for more details.

Provisional 2011 Cooper Tires British F3 International Series Standings (after Rd28):
14th Menasheh Idafar, 41pts

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.

Menasheh Idafar - Silverstone GPMixed conditions at Silverstone today, Friday, 7th October, made for a tricky start to the final event of the Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series with T-Sport’s Menasheh Idafar having to settle for an uncharacteristic 18th best time – having been unable to profit from a run on new tyres.

Competitors were greeted by a cold and damp Grand Prix Circuit for the start of the morning session, in which the Anglo-Bahraini managed to post the 13th fastest lap of 1m59.200 seconds as the surface began to dry.

In the afternoon, the 20-year-old set an improved time of 1m56.756 seconds but he was unable to benefit from a run on fresh rubber when the session was halted due to a red flag prior to a heavy rain shower which saturated the circuit.

This did give Menasheh and his rivals some vital wet-weather experience of the 3.66-mile track though and, with rain a distinct possibility over the course of the race weekend, the 2010 National Class Champion delivered some impressive times.

Having starred in the wet during the previous event at Donington Park last month to claim his third podium finish of the season, the Dallara-Volkswagen driver certainly won’t mind if the conditions are similar during the final three rounds of the championship on Saturday and Sunday.

“We went quite well in the wet towards the end, if it’s like that over the weekend hopefully we should be ok”, said Menasheh, “When it was drier, we should have been quicker but we didn’t get to go on new tyres before the rain came. I really want to end the season with some good results, we’ll see how it goes.”

Qualifying and the first race of the weekend, round 28, will take place at Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit tomorrow, Saturday, 8th October, at 11.25 and 15.10 respectively. Rounds 29 and 30 will follow on Sunday, 9th October, at around 10.10 and 16.10 – the Sunday action set to be screened live this weekend on digital satellite and cable channel Motors TV. Check www.motorstv.com for details.

Provisional 2011 Cooper Tires British F3 International Series Standings (after Rd27):
14th Menasheh Idafar, 41pts

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.

Menasheh IdafarFresh from taking his third podium of the 2011 Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series at Donington Park last weekend, Menasheh Idafar posted the 11th quickest lap in testing at Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit today, Wednesday, 28th September – the last officially timed run of the season.

Just a week and a half away from the final race meeting of the current campaign at the 3.66-mile Northamptonshire track, the 20-year-old concluded today’s three sessions fairly satisfied with the outcome where he attained a quickest time of 1m55.699 seconds (113.89mph).

Lapping in 1m56.873 seconds (112.75mph) during the opening run, he then improved to 1m56.387 seconds (113.22mph) in the midday session before finding an extra seven 10ths of a second in the third and final outing.

Almost hoisting Menasheh into the overall top 10, his fastest lap of the day placed him 1.2 seconds shy of Kevin Magnussen’s outright best on combined times. In terms of the third session alone, the T-Sport driver was seventh for that run – 0.8 seconds adrift of 2011 British F3 Champion Felipe Nasr.

“I was pretty happy with the last session, seventh wasn’t bad”, said the Dallara-Volkswagen racer, “I had too much oversteer in the beginning but we got that sorted out for the last run. We started too much on the back-foot I guess but caught up well considering that.”

Pre-event practice for the Silverstone GP Circuit rounds, which will run in support of the Blancpain Endurance Series, will take place on Friday, 7th October, with qualifying and round 28 following on Saturday, 8th October, at 10.25 and 14.35 respectively. On Sunday, 9th October, round 29 will begin at around 10.15 with round 30 scheduled to start at 16.10.

Provisional 2011 Cooper Tires British F3 International Series Standings (after Rd27):
14th Menasheh Idafar, 41pts

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.

Menasheh IdafarTalented single-seater racer Menasheh Idafar produced a memorable drive in a rain-affected 26th round of the Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series at Donington Park Grand Prix Circuit today, Sunday, 25th September, to brilliantly secure his third podium finish of 2011.

Lining-up on the sixth row of the grid in 11th position, the always entertaining British-born Bahraini delivered a sensational performance in the first of the day’s two races to scythe his way through the order and finish within just 0.182 seconds of equaling his previous F3 career-best of second place.

Rain ahead of the race meant wet-weather tyres were the only option and following a great start, the 20-year-old rapidly climbed into seventh place on the opening lap before producing a terrific pass on Carlos Huertas at Melbourne Hairpin to take sixth.

Driving beautifully, the T-Sport sensation pressured Jazeman Jaafar for fifth and gained the place on lap two before immediately setting off after Harry Tincknell. Swiftly closing in, Menasheh posted lap times second only to race leader – and 2011 GP3 Series Champion – Valtteri Bottas at that point and continued to find more and more pace with each tour of the 2.5-mile track.

By lap nine he was on the tail of the three car battle ahead, Tincknell, Will Buller and Scott Pye, with the latter Menasheh’s new target after some place swapping. Then, at McLeans on lap 10, Tincknell and Pye made contact which opened the way for Menasheh to take third place.

Within 1.7 seconds of Buller, he pressed on at the wheel of his Dallara-Volkswagen and closed the gap down to just 0.9 seconds into the penultimate lap. By the time they reached the hairpin, the two were nose-to-tail and after shadowing Buller throughout the final lap Menasheh almost managed to take second place at the hairpin when the Northern Irishman went wide on the exit as he defended.

Crossing the line less than two 10ths of a second adrift, Menasheh’s sensational drive from 11th to third marked possibly his best performance of the season and stands as a big confidence boost prior to the championship finale at Silverstone a fortnight from now.

“My start was ok, it should have been better but it was good enough”, said Menasheh, “The race went really well, the first lap was great and I was really pleased with the pass on Carlos (Huertas); the one on Jazeman (Jaafar) at McLeans was really good too.

“When Tincknell and Pye came together, they spun across and nearly wiped me out – it was really lucky! The car felt good though, the tyres were finished towards the end as the track dried more and more but it was a great race and fantastic to be back on the podium.”

During the second of the day’s races, round 27, Menasheh again delivered a strong account of himself after fighting through the order to 11th place following a pit-stop to change from slick tyres to wets at the end of the green flag formation lap.

Scheduled to line-up 14th on the grid, rain started to fall ahead of the race and worsened as the drivers headed off on the sighting lap. Following his stop, Menasheh joined the action down in 19th position and a long way adrift of the next car but he mounted another impressive drive and by lap six he was into 16th place.

Up into 15th on lap seven, past team-mate Yann Cunha, he closed down the gap to Max Snegirev before passing the Russian around the outside at Redgate Corner with a tremendous move. Setting the fastest lap of the race on the 11th tour, Menasheh confirmed his superb pace in the challenging conditions although this was bettered by Bottas later on.

Moving into the top 12 on the penultimate lap, the 2010 National Class Champion reeled in the group of cars ahead and at the finish he was just 1.6 seconds shy of Jaafar – a great recovery from his early pit-stop. After the race, Menasheh was promoted to 11th position due to a time penalty for Tincknell linked to a starting procedure infringement.

Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit in Northamptonshire will host the final three rounds of the British F3 season a fortnight from now over the weekend 8th/9th October. The championship will run in support of the Blancpain Endurance Series.

Provisional 2011 Cooper Tires British F3 International Series Standings (after Rd27):
14th Menasheh Idafar, 41pts

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography

Menasheh Idafar - Donington Park GPMenasheh Idafar delivered one of his best performances of the season at Donington Park Grand Prix Circuit this afternoon, Saturday, 24th September, during round 25 of the Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series – although a deserved top seven finish became 11th post-race due to a penalty.

Making a sensational start to the first of the weekend’s three races, the T-Sport driver got away from his eighth row grid slot brilliantly and by the end of the first lap he had climbed from 16th place to the fringe of the top 10.

On lap two, contact between recently crowned 2011 Champion Felipe Nasr and his team-mate Kevin Magnussen at Melbourne Hairpin dropped the former down into 10th place and at the next corner, Goddards, Menasheh saw his chance and sliced up the inside of the Brazilian to take the position.

Magnussen then pitted on the following tour, thus hoisting Menasheh into ninth place, as the 20-year-old set about pressuring Pipo Derani. Driving well and producing competitive lap times, the British-born Bahraini held a gap of roughly 0.7 seconds to Derani for the next half a dozen laps before a mistake for Will Buller promoted both.

Now running in the top eight, Menasheh continued to push hard as he sought to keep Derani under pressure but with overtaking opportunities seriously limited the battle enabled Harry Tincknell and the recovering Buller to close in.

Handling the pressure impressively, while maintaining his challenge for seventh, the opportunity Menasheh had been waiting for presented itself on lap 18. Getting terrific drive out of the Fogarty Esses and closing right-up behind Derani, he went for the inside into the hairpin but as the two cars reached the apex there was contact which resulted in the South American losing several places.

After repelling an attempted pass by Tincknell at Redgate Corner on the following lap, Menasheh was able to get back into his rhythm and seventh place was secured – which also meant he sealed a front-row starting slot for Sunday morning’s race by virtue of the top eight finishers being ‘reversed’ to determine the first four rows of the round 26 grid.

Disappointingly, the Dallara-Volkswagen driver was deemed culpable for the contact on lap 18 with Derani and championship officials served Menasheh with an unfortunate 3.5 second penalty to drop him to 11th in the final classification. Therefore, he starts round 26 tomorrow from 11th place.

“We had a really great race today, really good, so to lose the seventh place is frustrating”, Menasheh commented, “It’s one of those things though, you can’t do anything about it. The start was great and the first lap went really well so it’s a big shame to lose the result. I’m pleased with our performance though, we’ll be trying as hard as ever tomorrow.”

Round 26 of the 2011 Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series will get underway at 10.15 tomorrow, Sunday, 25th September, with round 27 – which Menasheh will begin from 14th on the grid – following at 13.40. Live timing for both races can be viewed online at www.tsl-timing.com

Provisional 2011 Cooper Tires British F3 International Series Standings (after Rd25):
=14th Menasheh Idafar & Hywel Lloyd, 33pts

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography

Menasheh Idafar - Donington Park GPDallara-Volkswagen driver Menasheh Idafar got his preparations for this weekend’s Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series races at Donington Park Grand Prix Circuit off to a trouble-free start today, Thursday, 22nd September, during official testing at the East Midlands venue.

In this morning’s opening 55-minute session on the 2.48-mile track, the 20-year-old posted a best lap of 1m24.906 seconds (105.46mph) in his T-Sport machine to go 14th on the timesheets and 0.4 seconds shy of the top 10.

Session two this afternoon, which took place in dry conditions like the first, delivered improvements for each of the 21 drivers and Menasheh was able to slice 0.9 seconds off his morning best with a lap of 1m24.062 seconds (106.52mph) to move up to 13th quickest.

Although edging the British-born Bahraini a 10th of a second nearer the overall top 10 for the day, he did end the test disappointed not to be further up the order. Now, he’ll be working hard with the team engineers to find more pace ahead of qualifying and the first race of the weekend which takes place on Saturday, 24th September.

“Overall it was an ok day but we’re not where we wanted to be”, said Menasheh, “We’re going to look through all of the data to see where we can make some improvements with the car and see where I’m losing time. Hopefully we can make some good changes before qualifying on Saturday.”

The British F3 runners will be back in action at 10.40 on Saturday morning for the all-important qualifying session with the first race of the weekend at Donington, round 25, scheduled to get underway at 15.40. On Sunday, 25th September, round 26 will begin at 10.15 while round 27 will follow at 13.40.

Live timing of all of the weekend’s action will be available online at www.tsl-timing.com

Provisional 2011 Cooper Tires British F3 International Series Standings (after Rd24):
=14th Menasheh Idafar & Hywel Lloyd, 33pts

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography

Menasheh Idafar (No.16) - RockinghamMenasheh Idafar added more points to his Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series total at Rockingham in Northamptonshire today, Sunday, 4th September, with a very competitive seventh place finish during round 23 of the 2011 season.

Backing up a very solid ninth position during Saturday’s first race of the weekend, the T-Sport driver was in terrific form in wet conditions this morning and after a superb start from ninth on the grid he immediately climbed into the top four.

Confirming his good pace at the 1.94-mile track, the 20-year-old ran within just 1.5 seconds of the soon to be crowned 2011 British F3 Champion Felipe Nasr and looked very well placed for one of his best finishes of the season. On lap three though, Menasheh received contact from behind which dropped him to sixth place.

Disappointed but undeterred, the Dallara-Volkswagen driver pressed on and although slipping behind Carlos Huertas on lap six he maintained seventh position thereafter to secure his second points scoring finish of the weekend.

“We had really good pace and the car was working well”, said Menasheh, “I made an amazing start, really good, and got up into fourth but I was hit after about three laps and that dropped me down to sixth. I was disappointed to slip behind (Carlos) Huertas but in the end seventh was ok.”

Round 24 was less fruitful for the British-born-Bahraini when yet more unfortunate contact resulted in a lap one retirement. Lining up 12th on the grid, the 2010 National Class title winner was first hit at the start and had to take avoiding action to ensure he didn’t make contact with the pitwall. Losing some ground but without too much drama, he was then pushed off into the gravel at turn three.

Menasheh added: “It was a real shame about the second race today, it all got quite messy at the start with one car cutting across me and then pushing me towards the wall. I backed off to avoid anything but then, at turn three, I was on the outside and got pushed off the track. There wasn’t any damage but I was stuck in the gravel. It’s disappointing but overall it wasn’t a bad weekend.”

Menasheh will be back in action three weeks from now at Donington Park Grand Prix Circuit in the East Midlands with rounds 25, 26 and 27 taking place on 24th/25th September.

Provisional 2011 Cooper Tires British F3 International Series Standings (after Rd24):
=14th Menasheh Idafar & Hywel Lloyd, 33pts

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.

Menasheh Idafar (No.16) - RockinghamCooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series front-runner Menasheh Idafar made a welcome return to the points at Rockingham this afternoon, Saturday, 3rd September, after an impressively strong drive to ninth position in round 22 of the season.

Arriving at the Northamptonshire track aiming to get back inside the top 10 after a run of misfortune during the previous three events at Germany’s Nurburgring, Paul Ricard in France and Belgium’s Spa-Francorchamps, the 20-year-old did just that with a highly competitive performance today.

In this morning’s qualifying session, which took place under overcast skies, Menasheh lapped with the 12th fastest time of 1m12.830 seconds (95.89mph) to end the session just 0.072 seconds shy of the top 10 – an improvement of four 10ths of a second on his best from pre-event practice.

His incredibly consistent second best time of 1m12.854 seconds (95.86mph), used to determine grid positions for the first of the weekend’s three races, was good enough for an improved 11th fastest and only a mere 0.005 seconds away from the coveted top 10.

Round 22 started well for the T-Sport driver as he climbed into ninth place, including a terrific move around the outside of Will Buller at turn three, and this became eighth position on lap three when Kevin Magnussen suffered a spin.

Following a short Safety Car period, Menasheh held eighth but he wasn’t as comfortable as during the opening laps. He therefore lost a couple of places before the finish on lap 23 but managed to hold on to the coveted top 10 in his Dallara-Volkswagen. This later became ninth position though when a time penalty was applied to Buller for failing to observe a mid-race drive-through penalty.

“It was a good race today, I had a good start and felt really strong for the first few laps”, explained Menasheh, “I was able to pass a few guys and pull away but after the Safety Car I lost my rhythm a bit and so I wasn’t able to go as well as I had been before. I’m really pleased to be back in the points though, the car has been working well so far this weekend – it’s been a great start.”

Round 23 of the 2011 Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series is scheduled to get start at 11.00 tomorrow, Sunday, 4th September, with round 24 following at 14.50. Visit www.tsl-timing.com for full live timing of the entire event. Thanks to his ninth place finish today, Menasheh will begin the first race from the fifth row of the grid while for the final outing he will start in 12th position on row six.

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.

Menasheh Idafar - Rockingham TestingFive long weeks since the previous three rounds of Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series action, the season resumed at Rockingham in Northamptonshire today, Friday, 2nd September, with Menasheh Idafar lapping only half a second shy of the outright pace during official practice.

Ahead of the weekend’s 22nd, 23rd and 24th rounds of the season at the Corby track, the 20-year-old was consistently strong at the wheel of his Volkswagen-engined Dallara F311 and concluded the day with the 11th fastest time of 1m13.229 seconds (95.37mph).

Like the majority of drivers Menasheh produced his best effort of the day during the first of the three sessions and after lapping 10th quickest during the opening run, he delivered a similarly strong top 12 performance in session two.

During the final track outing of the day though, he wasn’t able to improve on his morning best when his new tyre runs were affected by traffic. Even so, the T-Sport racer was very happy with his performance as he wrapped up the test a mere 0.056 seconds shy of the overall top 10 and only 0.5 seconds away from the top of the combined timesheets.

“It’s been a good day, my runs on new tyres got ruined by traffic coming out of the pits in front of me but there’s nothing you can do about that”, said Menasheh, “I’m happy with how things went and the car felt really good, much better than last time, so I’m looking forward to tomorrow. ”

Qualifying for the weekend’s races will get underway at 10.35 tomorrow, Saturday, 3rd September, with round 22 expected to commence at 14.50. On Sunday, 4th September, round 23 will begin at 11.00 with round 24 following at 14.50 – all of the weekend’s action can be followed online through live timing at www.tsl-timing.com

Provisional 2011 Cooper Tires British F3 International Series Standings (after Rd21):
15th Menasheh Idafar, 27pts

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.