National Class Champion Menasheh Idafar made a good start to the first official Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series test of the 2011 pre-season at Rockingham today, Tuesday, 1st March, by ending the outing 10th quickest on the combined timesheets.

At the wheel of his Dallara F310 Volkswagen, the 19-year-old finished the first of two days at the Northamptonshire venue's 1.94-mile International Super Sportscar Circuit within just 0.8 seconds of the outright pace.

Remaining with the T-Sport team for his step-up to the full International Class this year, Menasheh immediately ran well in the damp during the opening 45-minute session this morning to post the sixth quickest time of 1m24.472 seconds (82.67mph).

The track surface dried significantly in time for session two and from that point on the times started to tumble as a result. Lapping in 1m16.781 seconds (90.95mph) to end the second run on the fringe of the top 10, the British-born Bahraini improved to 1m13.967 seconds (95.00mph) in session three.

During the afternoon Menasheh was in the front-running mix throughout, first posting a time of 1m11.861 seconds (97.18mph) in session four to go back into the top six and then concluding the day with a marginally better 1m11.826 seconds -- placing him ninth fastest in session five and 10th overall for the entire day.

"It's been a pretty good day, I did make a mistake in the first session which meant I wasn't as quick as I should have been but overall I'm fairly happy", he commented, "We've got some good data from today and there are a few things to improve on tomorrow so I'm looking forward to that. We expect it to be drier for the second day too so hopefully we can make some good progress."

Official Cooper Tires British F3 International Series testing continues at Rockingham tomorrow, Wednesday, 2nd March.

-source: menasheh idafar