Jazeman Jaafar suffered a frustrating weekend at the eighth round of the Formula Renault 3.5 Series in Paul Ricard after technical issues in the early sessions put him on the back foot. Although he had strong race pace by the time of the second race, he was starting too far back on the grid to be able to capitalise on this.
The 20-year-old Malaysian, competing in his debut season of the headline series of World Series by Renault, had hoped for a strong weekend at the French circuit, but in one of the practice session he was forced to sit in the garage while his Carlin team sorted technical issues, losing him valuable set up time. His woes continued into qualifying, putting him further down the grid than usual. He valiantly battled on and had a storming start in the first race, making up nine places in the opening lap with some excellent driving and avoiding the inevitable first lap incidents. He pushed on over the course of the 25 lap race distance and had got up to 13th place, but a drop in engine power left him struggling to stay with other cars, dropping him to 16th and getting slower every lap. He finally finished in 14th place.
The second race of the weekend was a similar story for the PETRONAS Talent Programme driver. He wasn’t able to challenge for the top ten, but had a strong race pace and was able to finish 14th. Jazeman said of his weekend,
“It was very frustrating for me. It wasn’t any one thing that I could pinpoint, but a number of small issues which resulted in less than satisfactory results. It’s inevitable that if you have problems at the start of the weekend you will struggle to make up the ground and that was true this weekend. Despite this, I know I have the race pace and given the opportunity to put it to good use I can run comfortably in the top ten.”
He adds, “It’s all part of my learning curve in motor racing, although that doesn’t make it easy to digest. I have to stay strong and keep motivated, and luckily I have the ability to do this, as well as having a good team of people around me. I only have a couple of weeks until the next race, so my focus is on that now.”
Jazeman returns to racing action in a fortnight, with the final round of the Formula Renault 3.5 Series at the Circuit Catalunya in Barcelona, Spain.