05 Sep 2011

Strong finishes for Jazeman at Rockingham

Fastest in practice, strong qualifying and solid results were the order of the weekend for Jazeman Jaafar, competing in round eight of the ten-round Cooper Tires British F3 International Series at Rockingham Motor Speedway in Corby. Two fourth and one fifth place finishes improved Jazeman’s position in the British F3 Drivers’ Championship points standings to fifth place, just seven points behind fourth placed driver, Carlos Huertas, and only 15 points away from second placed driver, Kevin Magnussen.

jaafar_04p_1Jazeman’s weekend began on a high with the young Malaysian topping the time sheets in the Friday practice sessions.  He continued with a strong performance to post qualifying times which put him fifth on the grid for the first race and fourth for the third race.  He said of his preparations for the Rockingham races, “Leading the field in practice is a good confidence builder and I was pleased to carry this through into qualifying although I didn’t quite manage to put in the fastest times. It was very close though; I was only a few tenths off the pole time, and less than a tenth offthird quickest time. “

The PETRONAS-liveried car with Jazeman behind the wheel lined up in fifth place on a dry track for the first race held yesterday afternoon. The opening lap produced plenty of action with Jazeman dropping to sixth in the melee of cars fighting for position at the second corner, however a mistake from Kevin Magnussen promoted Jazeman back into fifth, while a safety car period slowed the field to unravel a tangle of three cars.  When racing resumed Jazeman maintained position and he then capitalised on Felipe Nasr making a mistake to take fourth place by the chequered flag.

The second race of the weekend, held in persistent light rain, saw Jazeman lining up in fifth place on the grid. At the green flag the pack raced down into the infield section, a tight turn where Jazeman was squeezed from both sides. He emerged fifth to chase down Menasheh Idafar and over the course of the next few laps the Malaysian driver was on the tail of his rival, finally passing him on lap four to take fourth place. A mistake by fellow Carlin driver, Kevin Magnussen, promoted Jaafar to third, behind championship leader, Felipe Nasr.  Jazeman, carrying plenty of speed around the Rockingham track, closed on Nasr, narrowing the gap as the laps counted down, but with Magnussen chasing him Jazeman was defending hard each lap as well. With the two Carlin drivers fighting for the final podium position on the final lap, Magnussen passed by cutting the chicane, but the battling duo let Will  Buller through in the process, demoting Jazeman to fifth at the chequered flag. A post-racepenalty for Magnussen put Jazemn back to fourth in the final race classification.

The opening lap of the third race was a fierce fight through every corner with Jazeman caught up in the melee of cars jostling for position, dropping back to sixth from his fourth place start position at the end of lap one. A safety car period on lap two temporarily halted the battles up and down the field and when racing resumed Jazeman was quickly back on the pace and pushing hard to make up ground, taking fifth place from Jack Harvey half way through the lap. The next car in Jazeman’s sight was Buller’s and he was soon closing on him, but a second safety car period to retrieve the car of a backmarker once again slowed the field.  When the race restarted, Buller had a better run off the line, but with Jazeman pushing hard, he was quickly back on Buller’s tail. With a drying track putting strain on the wet tyres, Jazeman mainteained position until the chequered flag.

At the end of the day Jazeman commented, “Another three solid results is good, but I think we could have been on the podium this weekend – and we were close to doing that in the second race. I feel that I’ve bounced  back from a difficult weekend last time out in Spa, proving that I have the pace and the performance to run at the front end. Now I just need a bit more to get into a podium spot, but I’m not far off, it’s very competitive though so it’s tough.  I’m pleased to have moved up in the championship standings and it’s very close between the five drivers lying second to sixth, so every point is important.

Jazeman added, “Congratulations to Felipe on winning the championship. He’s a top bloke and a great team mate. He’s been very consistent this season and deserves his success. Well done Felipe!”

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