Only a handful of drivers emerged from the opening round of the 2011 British Formula 3 Championship unscathed, but one of them was T-Sport’s 2010 National Class Champion, Menasheh Idafar. In fact the 20-year old found himself in a points-scoring position at the end of the race after a competitive and mature race at the Italian circuit of Monza.
8th place overall was a surprise result for the British-born Bahraini driver, especially after particularly tricky practice and qualifying sessions that left him down in 13th place for the race. In the race however, Idafar quickly penetrated the Top 10 by the end of the first lap and the arrival of the first safety car in the 20-minute race. As the front-runners tangled ahead of him, Idafar steered clear of several wreckages to move into the Top 8.
Another safety car caused by both Rookie Class drivers colliding closed the pack together merely a few corners after the restart, followed by yet another safety car following a large incident between Scott Pye and Pietro Fantin. When the race finally got underway again, it soon became a mad-dash to the flag with only a few laps remaining. Idafar took a few knocks on the restart, allowing Hywel Lloyd through into 7th place, but the two raced down to the wire – separated by only 2/100ths of a second.
Looking back on Saturday’s race, Menasheh said: “Overall I'm really pleased, I made three or four places up at the start and to finish eighth from where we started is a good result. We had some problems with the electronics in practice, so I had no lights or times on the steering read-out, but the team got that sorted and in the end the race went well.” Near the end I did get some contact which let (Hywel) Lloyd get ahead. I only just lost out to him on the line but I'm happy enough, eighth is good to start the season.”
The 2011 Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series resumes on the 23-25 April at the Oulton Park circuit in Cheshire, England.