F3 Rejuvenated Basil Shaaban heads to Dijon in France
2009 FORMULA 3 EURO SERIES
Dijon, France, rounds 17 and 18 – October 10th-11th
For immediate release
Thursday, October 8th, 2009
REJUVENATED LEBANESE RACER BASIL SHAABAN HEADS TO DIJON FOR F3 EURO SERIES MEETING
· Basil Shaaban aims to seal concrete racing future in the Middle East
· Lebanese star aims to follow podium finish in Spain with success in France
· Frenchman Jules Bianchi set to defend comfortable F3 series lead at Dijon
ABU DHABI (UAE): Lebanese Formula 3 driver, Basil Shaaban, heads to Dijon in France for the penultimate race meeting of the 2009 F3 Euro Series this weekend.
The Abu Dhabi-raised star, who drives a Shell-backed Dallara Mercedes-Benz F308/309 for Italy’s Prema Powerteam, scored his first ever points in the championship and collected a podium at the last two races in Spain and is brimming with confidence ahead of the new French challenge on Saturday (October 10th) and Sunday (October 11th).
“If anything, the podium finish has reinforced that the relentless work ethic, dedication and perseverance that I’ve maintained with my team is the right approach,” enthused Shaaban, who has been meeting with various sponsorship partners since the Barcelona races.
“There has been a significant step forward in my perception of my own capabilities. After Barcelona, I spent the following 48 hours relishing our achievements, before I was back in the F3 cockpit testing at the Magny-Cours F1 circuit in France.
“Straight after that I was off to Beirut for media interviews, meetings with ministers, political representatives and businesses to discuss my achievement for the region and to look forward in terms of my upcoming pan-Lebanon Road Safety tour.”
Shaaban then headed off to the UAE for several interviews and met with Shell’s regional staff, various PR and media agents and potential sponsor partners. “With Abu Dhabi about to host the second F1 Middle East Grand Prix, it's a great time to structure the strategic partnerships for professionally developing my proven potential towards F1,” added Shaaban. “It’s been a very busy, exciting and promising period.”
The Lebanese racer knew that entering the F3 Euro Series – the top rung of the ladder for drivers hoping to make the leap into F1 – would not be easy and he has been delighted with his progress this season.
“The last few years competing against the world’s best F1 hopefuls was a very tough experience,” admitted Shaaban. “I’ve been wanting and needing to prove my capacity to mix it with and beat these drivers who are considered the stars of the future. I showed that potential several times this season, but misfortune or errors denied me the front-running race results to do that.
“After the successes in Barcelona, I proved I do have the talent to match them, which has also had a positive effect on my feeling and self-belief. Such an affirmation is crucial for an athlete’s peak performance, and has borne a new and stronger phase in my F1 development.”
Shaaban tested at Dijon for one day three years ago in two formula cars different to F3, but feels that brief insight into the circuit will be beneficial. ”It is a flowing and undulating circuit, with a couple of flat-out corner complexes and some technical sections. As a team it is going to be a good challenge coming to a circuit we have never raced on. While many teams are also new to Dijon, we have to make the most of the 150 minutes of testing before qualifying tomorrow (Friday) to maximise the car’s performance and my driving approach.”
Shaaban’s superb performances in Spain have catapulted him into 15th position in the championship after 16 of 20 races. He has also lifted Lebanon to 12th position in the Nation’s Cup, ahead of Brazil and Switzerland.
Frenchman Jules Bianchi holds a 23-point lead over Germany’s Christian Vietoris in the overall standings and can clinch the championship if results go his way at Dijon this weekend.
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