Jazeman Jaafar put in a storming drive at Paul Ricard circuit this weekend. Racing with HTP Motorsport in the Blancpain Endurance Series, the Malaysian driver joined teammates Maxi Buhk and Dominik Baumann for the six-hour dusk to dark race at the French circuit driving one of the team’s Mercedes AMG GT3 cars. Despite a strong run from Jazeman, with him taking the car from fourteenth to third place, a gearbox issue with two hours remaining forced driver, Maxi, to stop the #84 car out on track, putting an end to their race.
The 23-year-old Malaysian arrived at Paul Ricard riding high after the #84’s win last time out at Silverstone, although he knew that the Balance of Performance (BoP) restrictions following the win could hamper the car’s pace. After the first practice session on Friday afternoon it looked as if his prediction was correct, with the car running only 29th quickest. However, with some set up adjustments they were third quickest in the pre-qualifying session. Qualifying on Saturday morning produced 17th fastest lap for the trio and a ninth row grid slot.
Dominik took the start of the race in the #84 car and was soon making his way through the field, moving up to 14th place by the end of the first hour. After a double stint by Dominik, he handed the car over to Jazeman. The #84 was lying in 14th place and with a quick stop by the team, the young driver gained places and was quickly coming up the order. He then passed a Lamborghini for fifth, and then making a superb move on a Ferrari to fourth, then powering onwards and passing an Audi before making another scheduled fuel pit stop. Returning to the track in fifth place, Jazeman was back up to fourth by the time he handed over to Maxi Buhk for the final two hours of the race.
Maxi had only been in the car for a few laps before he was forced to pull off track with a gearbox issue, putting the car out of the race, a disappointing end for the HTP Motorsport team.
Jazeman said afterwards, “It was very disappointing that we couldn’t make it to the end as we were running really well and could have been on the podium. But it just wasn’t our day. For my stint I had a great drive, I was able to make up some positions which wasn’t easy and I really had to use all my experience to find the right places to make a move and then make them stick, against highly skilled drivers who don’t want to give up a place. I really enjoyed the battles and really pleased I was able to make up ground and put in a strong performance for the team.”
Jazeman now turns his focus to the Blancpain Sprint Series, with the next round of the championship taking place this weekend at Nurburgring.