Podium for Jazeman Jaafar in Nurburgring
Jazeman Jaafar, the young Malaysian racing driver currently racing in Formula Renault 3.5 Series in Europe, celebrated a third place finish in the first race at Nurburgring this weekend, the seventh of nine events in the championship calendar.
The 22-year-old driver was just outside of the top ten in the two practice sessions and then put in a string of quick laps to finish sixth fastest in the first qualifying, resulting in a third row grid slot for the first race.
Jazeman had the perfect start, jumping into third right off the line, following team mate Oliver Rowland and second placed man, Nick De Vries into the first corner as the melee of the opening lap unfolded. Jazeman tracked the two guys ahead and held position over the course of the race. He held held off charges from Matthieu Vaxiviere and Tom Dillmann to complete the podium, a positive bounce back from his previous round reliability issues
Finishing 11th quickest in the second of the two qualifying sessions on Sunday morning, the PETRONAS Talent Development Programme driver started on the sixth row for the start of the final Formula Renault 3.5 Series race of the weekend.
With changeable weather conditions, race two was shaped by tyre gambles. Jazeman, starting in 11th place, opted to start on grooved tyres, but it proved the wrong strategy in the end. A rare mistake on the grid left Jazeman stranded when the lights went out, so he was forced to start from the pit lane. From there he raced hard, finally finishing 17th in challenging options.
Jazeman said after the weekend, “It was highs and lows for me again this weekend. Standing on the podium is a great feeling. I was really pleased to have had such a good start and it wasn’t easy to hang on to my third place, but there was no way I was going to give it up without a fight. I had to defend hard for much of the race, so it was a big relief and ahuge adrenalin high to see the chequered flag and know that I had secured my place on one of those steps.
It was, of course, disappointing that my fortunes changed on Sunday. “I opted for wets, stalled on the grid and continued the race from the pit lane. I chased back to finish 17th and did the best I could to recover in challenging conditions. I felt quite deflated at the end of the race, but it wasn’t an easy race and sometimes it just doesn’t go your way and you have to accept that. I’ll just focus on the next round now and work with the team to be as well prepared as I can be for the races ahead.”
The penultimate round of the 2015 season takes place in Le Mans, France from 25 to 27 September.