PENULTIMATE LAP DISAPPOINTMENT FOR IDAFAR
Menasheh Idafar frustratingly missed out on his 10th National Class victory of the 2010 Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series at Thruxton in Hampshire this afternoon, Saturday, 7th August, when a penultimate lap tangle at Club Chicane forced him into retirement.
Having done all of the hard work by securing the National Class pole position in this morning's half hour qualifying session and scorching into a clear five second lead in today's 19th round, the T-Sport racer came to grief just over a lap from the chequered flag after contact with Alex Brundle.
Starting today's 30-minute encounter from 15th on the grid overall, having lapped half a second quicker than class title rival James Cole in qualifying, Menasheh made a good getaway and as he held on to his top 15 placing Cole fell further back.
By lap three he was into 14th place, four spots ahead of his chief rival, and a drive-through penalty for Jazeman Jaafar on the seventh tour then allowed Menasheh to move into 13th position. Although slipping behind Carlos Huertas on lap 11 he continued to run strongly and proceeded to build up an advantage of more than five seconds over Cole.
Dominating the National Class with an excellent drive, the 19-year-old looked to have the win well within his grasp but a passing attempt around the outside of International Class runner Brundle at the chicane two laps from the finish didn't pay off and they made contact.
It also gifted National Class rival Cole the victory and a 19-point lead in the championship standings although Menasheh did have the consolation of taking the fastest class lap of 1m08.380 seconds -- within a second of the outright International Class pace set by overall race winner James Calado.
"Looking back I probably shouldn't have gone for the move", said the British-born Bahraini, "I led the class comfortably and should have taken the points for that, instead we have some hard work ahead now to try and close the gap again to James (Cole). I'm really disappointed as the weekend had gone so well up to that stage and we were fast in qualifying and the race."
The 20th round of the 2010 Cooper Tires British F3 International Series will begin at approximately 10.45 tomorrow, Sunday, 8th August, with round 21 following at around 15.55. Menasheh will start the opening encounter from 17th on the grid overall while for the last of the weekend's races he will start on the National Class pole in 15th position.
2010 Cooper Tires British F3 International Series 'National Class' standings: 1st James Cole, 272pts; 2nd Menasheh Idafar, 253pts