F3 Mixed fortunes for Basil Shaaban at the Lausitzring
2009 FORMULA 3 EURO SERIES
Lausitzring - Germany, rounds 3 and 4 - May 29th-31st
For immediate release
Sunday, May 31st 2009
MIXED FORTUNES FOR LEBANON’S BASIL SHAABAN AT THE LAUSITZRING
· Shell-backed star finishes 20th and 21st places in two Lausitzring races
· Shaaban slides into the gravel and is pushed to rear of the field
· Race victories for Jules Bianchi and Christian Vietoris
LAUSITZRING (Germany): The Arab world's leading Formula 3 racing driver, Basil Shaaban, endured mixed fortunes in the third and fourth rounds of the 2009 F3 Euro Series at the 3.478km Lausitzring, near Brandenburg in Germany, on Saturday and Sunday.
The Lebanese driver was forced to start the opening race from the rear of the grid, after sliding into a gravel trap, and eventually improved to take 20th position in his Shell-backed Prema Powerteam-run Dallara Mercedes-Benz F308/9. He went on to finish 21st overall in Sunday’s fourth round of the world’s most competitive single-seater racing series.
Shaaban admitted that his car was difficult to drive in the first race and starting from the back of the grid did not help matters. “It was difficult to push hard approaching the good passing zones, so I could not attack,” he said. “Instead, I was forced to drive in a defensive manner for the remainder of the race and eventually finished 20th.”
Shaaban has been classified 15th in the final practice session on Friday afternoon, a mere 0.78 seconds off the fastest driver, with one second separating the top 20 runners, such is the competitiveness of this year’s F3 Euro Series.
But he was forced to start Saturday’s opening 24-lap race from the rear of the grid after sliding off a drying track in qualifying. The Shell-backed Dallara became stuck in the gravel and the fact that everyone else improved their qualifying times on a drying track exacerbated the situation. “It was one of those things,” said Shaaban. “I had to make the best of it after that.”
Finnish driver Valtteri Bottas claimed pole position for the ART Grand Prix team with a fastest lap of 1m 31.308s. French team-mate Jules Bianchi was second, with Finland’s Atte Mustonen and Jean-Karl Vernay of the Signature Team lining up on the second row of the grid.
Shaaban’s championship-leading team-mate Stefano Coletti lined up in 16th position and finished the first race in 15th overall. Bianchi eventually secured victory in the opening race from Bottas, with Vernay finishing third overall.
Christian Vietoris claimed victory in the second race for the German Mücke Motorsport team. Spaniard Roberto Merhi finished second and Britain’s Sam Bird claimed third place. Bird and Merhi now hold joint second places in the 20-race series behind new leader Bianchi. Coletti slipped to sixth position in the rankings after failing to score points this weekend. He finished 23rd in the second race.
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