03 July 2011

Two more top fives move Jazeman to third in British F3

Leading young Malaysian driver, Jazeman Jaafar, continued to post strong results in the Cooper Tires British F3 International Series, with fourth and fifth place finishes in the first two races held at Nurburgring circuit in Germany this weekend. A technical issue relegated him from the front row of the grid to the pitlane for the start of the third race, but Jazeman fought back to finish in 11th place at the chequered flag.

Jazeman has been running consistently in the top five during the British F3 race weekends and he continued with this strong level of performance in the practice sessions. In a closely fought qualifying session the PETRONAS-supported driver pushed hard to record third fastest lap times for both the first and third race grids. He said of the session, “The times were so tight at the top, with half a tenth separating the top drivers. It’s such as small gap, but it’s so important to have good start positions for the races.”

A quick lights sequence for the first race caught out Jazeman, as it did for many drivers, with the 18-year-old Malaysian dropping a couple of places in the opening lap. He overtook Will Buller with a superb move around the outside of him to move up to fourth place and then began to hunt down third placed man, Harry Tincknell. He hounded his podium place rival through the closing laps, but despite being quicker was unable to find a way past and was forced to settle for a fourth place and strong points finish.

Jazeman started fifth for the second race but in the melee of the opening lap dropped to eighth place. A first lap incident between Fahmi Ilyas and Pietro Fantin brought out the safety car and at the restart another two-car tangle claimed two more victims. Jazeman had an exciting battle with team mate and championship leader, Felipe Nasr, until a faster Nasr finally passed him. With Jazeman running in fifth place in this short ten lap race, he pursued Nasr to the chequered flag and scored more valuable championship points.

For the third race Jazeman was promoted from third on the grid to P2 on the front row after a penalty for Carlos Huertas. The PETRONAS –liveried car lined up for the formation lap and Jazeman moved a few metres at the green flag, but he lost drive and was unable to restart his engine, forcing him to be pushed off the grid into the pitlane. The Carlin mechanics identified the problem and were able to get Jazeman fired up for the start, but Jazeman had his work cut out to score points from the back of the field. A sterling drive from the Malaysian saw him work his way up through the field, but he ran out of laps to make it into the top ten, finishing just outside in 11th place.

Jazeman said of his weekend, “It was disappointing to have such a strong start to the weekend turned around in the third race, particularly when I was starting on the front row, but that’s just one of those things that happens sometimes. It’s very rare for us, but was just bad luck and I just have to put it behind me and keep pushing. I really wanted to get a few more points in the last race and I was pushing all the way, but that punished the tyres, so I just couldn’t quite make it into the top ten. I’m pleased that I’m back up to third in the championship, but it’s very close, so I can’t afford any more bad luck.”

The mountains of Switzerland are the next stop for Jazeman as he now heads off for an intensive four days at a fitness training camp, before returning to the UK to attend the Formula 1 British Grand Prix with PETRONAS and Mercedes GP PETRONAS Formula One Team.

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