F3 Basil Shaaban optimistic about Catalunyan F3 Euro Series challenge
2009 FORMULA 3 EURO SERIES
Circuit of Catalunya, Barcelona, rounds 15 and 16 – September 19th-20th
For immediate release
Thursday, September 17th, 2009
ARAB WORLD’S BASIL SHAABAN CAUTIOUSLY OPTIMISTIC ABOUT CATALUNYAN F3 EURO SERIES RACE CHALLENGE
· Shell-backed Lebanese eyes possible GP2 Asia Championship programme
· Frenchman Jules Bianchi leads F3 Euro Series by 16 points after round 14
ABU DHABI (UAE): Lebanese Formula 3 driver, Basil Shaaban, heads to the Circuit of Catalunya, near Barcelona, this weekend to take part in the 15th and 16th rounds of the 20-race 2009 F3 Euro Series.
The Arab world’s leading F3 driver is cautiously optimistic about his chances of reaching the top eight and a points-scoring finish in Spain on Saturday. His last three race outings have been marred by cruel misfortune, but the Shell-backed Dallara Mercedes-Benz F308/309 driver for Italy’s Prema Powerteam is in ever-determined mood.
“I just need to stay calm and focused on giving my maximum on the circuit,” said the Abu Dhabi-raised Lebanese. “At least I know that when things go our way I am very competitive. So, all we can do is our best and trust that the rest falls into place. The 2009 F3 Euro Series is one of the world’s toughest championships and is as tough now as it has been for years.
“It has been more the matter of my recent misfortunes and mistakes that have halted my progress over the past weeks. I love the challenge of this championship and am remaining patient. With the correct approach and confidence, success is just around the corner!
The F3 Euro Series races use the second and third sectors of the F1 circuit in Catalunya. There are only seven on-limit corners for F3 with this layout, but several corners are quite technical where the driver must be accurate.
“Braking is important at this circuit, especially where we have two big braking zones into turn one and turn four,” adds Shaaban. “The final chicane is also crucial for a good lap time, as it leads on to the main straight. This is also where you begin preparing an overtaking manoeuvre into turn one for the races.”
The current weather forecast is mixed for this weekend in the vicinity of Barcelona, but Shaaban is not fazed by the uncertainty. “We always come to the weekend with a specific dry weather strategy to begin with during the pre-event tests and the practice, and if it is wet at any point we go to a wet set-up we know works and adapt from there.”
“We will arrive in Spain with a set-up that is based upon what we generally know works for our car, with some modifications based on the simulation work the team have done for Barcelona. Clearly we’ve learned from our errors over the past weekends. We should not go too soft on the suspension as this makes the car understeer too much.”
Shaaban has been busy working on various sponsorship programmes since the F3 Euro Series meeting at Brands Hatch two weekends ago. “I’ve been busy working on the future of my career. I was in the F1 paddock at Monza, discussing with some F1 teams the possibility to become part of their programmes. I’m also working on a package to compete in this winter’s GP2 Asia Championship, which will start at the inaugural Abu Dhabi F1 Grand Prix race meeting.
“It would be fantastic for everyone concerned to have an Abu Dhabi-raised driver flying the Arab flag at such a level during this historic event. There is also a lot we could do in terms of Road Safety awareness in the UAE around this race meeting.”
Frenchman Jules Bianchi currently leads the 2009 F3 Euro Series by 16 points from Germany’s Christian Vietoris heading into the final six races and three meetings of the season.
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