DRIVER UPDATE : F.BMW Pacific : Jazeman Jaafar
Jazeman Jaafar secured his tenth podium of the 2012 British F3 International Series at Snetterton, Norfolk, last weekend. In the first race, torrential rain forced a red flap stoppage with Jazeman finishing seventh. The second race produced a second place podium for the young Malaysian and with more rain affecting the third race, Jaafar finished in fifth place. His strong points finish kept him in the Drivers’ Championship title hunt, with Jaafar maintaining third position.
The early weekend practice sessions were an opportunity for Jaafar to develop the car set up for the races ahead and he worked with his engineer to plan their strategy. After the sessions, Jaafar was ready to do battle on track once again with a pace which placed him fourth overall.
The qualifying session proved very competitive as always and Jaafar produced laps to put him fourth on the grid for the first race and sixth for the third race, with the semi-reversed grid placing for the second race set to be taken from the results of the opening race.
The first race, held on Saturday afternoon, started on a wet track after an earlier torrential rainstorm. Jaafar had a flying start off the grid to be lying second in the second corner, but his hopes of a podium finish were instantly wiped out when rival, Harry Tincknell, slid into him, spinning him round and dropping him down to 11th at the end of lap one. Jaafar, never one to give up on a points finish, was quickly hunting down the drivers ahead, picking them off lap by lap and was in seventh when another heavy rainstorm brought the race to an abrupt, premature end.
The PETRONAS Talent Programme driver started Sunday morning’s race in sixth place and had another strong start to lie third after the first lap. He then made a move on Richard Goddard to claim second, behind Carlin team mate Harry Tincknell. Once past Goddard Jaafar turned a series of quick laps to close up on Tincknell, posting fastest lap of the race, and an extra championship point, on route to his podium finish.
The final race of the weekend started after another storm and with a rain-soaked track, visibility was poor and opportunities for overtaking very limited. Jaafar drove a strong race from sixth place to finish fifth at the chequered flag, claiming more championship points to keep him in third overall in the championship.
Jaafar summed up his weekend saying, “I was very disappointed with the outcome of the first race as I’d had such a good start and had my eye on a podium, but it didn’t work out that way. It was a shame the rain stopped the race, but it was the right call as the track was just becoming a river and too dangerous.
“Taking the podium in the second race was very important as I couldn’t afford to lose out on any more points and I was pleased to bounce back with that finish. The third race was another solid points finish and these three finishes have keep me in the hunt for the title.
Of his title chances he says, “There are only six more races so I’ll be fighting to the last breath and going all out to get the best finishes I can. I have a few weeks until the next British F3 race weekend, so I’ll be doing another F3 Euro Series round to keep on racing.”
Jaafar, as an elite athlete, has been following the fortunes of his home nation’s competitors in the Olympics and was delighted for the Malaysian success in Badminton. He says, “Many congratulations to Dato' Lee Chong Wei on his silver medal today, a great effort and a proud day for Malaysia.”
Jaafar’s next race will be on 18-19th September at Nurburgring, Germany in the F3 Euro Series.
Prepared by Alison Hill for www.jazeman.com