F3 Multiple setbacks for Basil Shaaban in Germany
2009 FORMULA 3 EURO SERIES
Nürburgring, rounds 11 and 12 – August 15th-16th
For immediate release
Monday, August 17th 2009
ARAB WORLD’S SHAABAN ENDURES MULTIPLE SETBACKS AT THE NÜRBURGRING
· Understeering woes cost Basil Shaaban dearly in Germany
· Shell-backed Lebanese driver pushed out of second Nürburgring race
· Frenchman Jules Bianchi extends his F3 Euro Series lead to 25 points
NÜRBURGRING (Germany): Abu Dhabi-raised Lebanese Formula 3 driver, Basil Shaaban, endured a difficult weekend at the Nürburgring in Germany.
The Arab world’s leading F3 driver nearly stalled at the start of the first 22-lap race and then suffered understeering woes, which limited him to a 20th position finish. He failed to finish race two after being side-swiped off the track on the first lap by Brazilian driver Pedro Enrique.
“I almost stalled at the start of the first race,” admitted the Shell-backed Prema Powerteam driver. “Then I had big understeer problems throughout the race and had to work hard just to drive around the circuit. It was bitterly disappointing, though not surprising, that I was the slowest car in the race and I finished 20th of the 23 finishers.”
Shaaban began Sunday’s 27-lap second race on the 3.629km Nürburgring Short-Circuit from 20th place in his Dallara Mercedes-Benz F308/309, but was forced out of contention on the opening lap after being struck by Enrique’s car that had spun once it made contact with the car of Britain’s Nick Tandy.
“It is not a fun ending to lose my chance of fighting for a good finish under circumstances like that,” said Shaaban. “I was getting a good run along the inside of Enrique and Tandy, but the contact they made with each other sent Enrique’s car right into the side of mine, putting all three of us out on the spot. I am okay, but it was a frustrating end to the weekend, bearing in mind that we had made big changes to the set-up to cure my persistent understeering problems and the car felt good during the warm-up lap. But that’s racing!”
Prema Powerteam colleague Stefano Coletti finished ninth overall and outside the points in race one and 10th in the second race.
Shaaban’s practice on Friday was marred by mechanical problems. The team rectified the fault in time for qualifying, but both Shaaban and Coletti suffered understeering issues and the Lebanese had to be satisfied with 20th position on the grid, albeit 1.4 seconds off the Pole Position time set by Frenchman Jules Bianchi. Coletti qualified in 10th position.
“Finding and optimising the right set-up is critical in such a closely-fought championship,” stated Shaaban. “We came into the weekend focused on achieving this, but we went in the wrong direction technically and the understeer simply got worse every time we went out on-track. But we think we have found the solution now and I learned a lot about how to drive a heavily-understeering car. That was important.”
Frenchman Jules Bianchi scored maximum points in the first of the weekend’s two races and fifth in race two to extend his overall F3 Euro Series lead to 25 points over Germany’s Christian Vietoris after 12 rounds of the 20-race series.
Race two was won by Great Britain’s Alexander Sims, with Vietoris sealing five points for second position and Finland’s Mika Mäki taking third overall for the Signature team.
Shaaban and his Italian Prema Powerteam now have just under three weeks to relax and enjoy the unofficial championship August holiday break before beginning preparations for rounds 13 and 14 of the F3 Euro Series at the Brands Hatch circuit in Kent, England, on September 5th-6th.
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