F3 Basil Shabaan aims high at the Nurburgring in Germany
2009 FORMULA 3 EURO SERIES
Nürburgring, rounds 11 and 12 – August 15th-16th
For immediate release
Thursday, August 13th 2009
ARAB WORLD’S BASIL SHAABAN AIMS FOR THE TOP AT THE NÜRBURGRING
· Shell-backed Lebanese admits that car set-up is crucial
· Basil Shaaban impressed after Oschersleben test session
ABU DHABI (UAE): Abu Dhabi-raised Lebanese Formula 3 driver, Basil Shaaban, continues his ambitious F3 Euro Series race campaign at the Nürburgring in Germany this weekend.
The Prema Powerteam driver has been delighted with improvements he has made in his third full season in one of the world’s most competitive racing series and he is determined to reach the top eight and a points-scoring position on the demanding German circuit. Car set-up problems hindered his progress at the recent Oschersleben meeting – where he still walked away with a respectable 12th place finish - but the Oxford-based star is confident that he can find the right set-up for this weekend.
“When the car is well-balanced and predictable I can be very competitive,” said Shaaban. “In such a closely-matched series (one and a half seconds often separates pole position from the rear of the grid) it is important to have a good car and to be confident with the handling. This hasn’t always been the case this season and that has limited my ability to perform better. The team and I are working hard to maximise the car’s behaviour and my flow from the first lap in Friday practice.”
Shaaban and the Prema Powerteam carried out a test at the Oschersleben circuit after the recent ninth and 10th rounds of the F3 Euro Series. “We learned some important things about the car and about my driving technique. Since then I’ve been in Oxford, working hard to secure the funding I need to finish the championship this year.
“Staying in England also gave me time to recover from a throat infection for which I’m taking antibiotics. I have done the maximum-allowable physical training while recovering and I expect to be fully fit by the time the circuit action starts on Friday.”
The Arab world’s leading F3 driver admits that he would love to drive his Dallara Mercedes-Benz F308/309 on the Nürburgring Nordschleife circuit that borders the Nürburgring Short-Circuit that will be used for the F3 Euro Series races on Saturday and Sunday.
“The short circuit still poses a good challenge though,” admits Shaaban. “The layout combines the first and third sectors of the F1 circuit where Mark Webber won his first F1 Grand Prix last month.
“It is full of technical, slow and medium-speed corners, where the set-up and the driver together have to extract every drop of grip available. Last year, with my previous team, we had a fuel pump failure in qualifying that put me on the back row of the grid and this limited my ability to score strong race results.
“In my first season, 2007, I was still learning and couldn’t show anything special. Things are different now and I can’t wait to begin work putting it together for qualifying and carrying that competitiveness through to both chequered flags.”
Frenchman Jules Bianchi holds an 18-point F3 Euro Series lead over Christian Vietoris at the half-way point of the season, but Shaaban’s goal is the top eight in Germany. “I have been fully aware of the level of competitiveness in the F3 Euro Series, even before I entered the championship in 2007.
“The fact that there isn’t a more demanding series outside F1 was precisely why I came here, to develop in the best way possible and to measure myself against the best F1 hopefuls in the world. This season has again proved how tough this championship is and the strong performances I have had this year so far give me a lot of confidence and promise for the future.”
Shaaban admits that he has never been happier with a team than he is with the Prema Powerteam this year. “I simply cherish the days when we race together, as I will be doing this weekend at the Nürburgring.”
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