F3 Basil Shaaban aims to season in style at Hockenheim
2009 FORMULA 3 EURO SERIES
Hockenheim, Germany, rounds 19 and 20 – October 23rd-25th
For immediate release
Thursday, October 22nd, 2009
LEBANESE F3 RACER BASIL SHAABAN AIMS TO FINISH F3 EURO SERIES SEASON ON HIGH NOTE AT HOCKENHEIM
· Arab world’s leading driver aims for podium finish in final German races
· Lebanese star plans World Series car test at Motorland Aragon circuit
ABU DHABI (UAE): The 2009 F3 Euro Series reaches its climax at the Hockenheim circuit in Germany this weekend and Lebanese driver Basil Shaaban will be hoping to finish his season on a high note with another podium finish.
The Abu Dhabi-raised star has shown radical progression at the nine race meetings this year and this culminated in a first podium finish for an Arab F3 driver at the recent Catalunya race in Spain.
Shaaban, who drives a Shell-backed Dallara Mercedes-Benz F308/309 for Italy’s Prema Powerteam, will be hoping for another top three finish in the last two races of the season on Saturday and Sunday to push him up the final Drivers’ Championship points’ standings.
“Certainly the high points in the season were fantastic,” enthused Shaaban. “To have shown front-line qualifying and race pace in one of the world’s most difficult championships and to have made history by standing on the podium there, these were the ambitious targets I was aiming for this year.”
Shaaban admits that he has learned a lot from his third full season in the prestigious F3 Euro Series, which was won by Frenchman Jules Bianchi at the last race at Dijon. “There were many lessons learned, mistakes made and so much progress in myself as a racer and development driver.”
The Lebanese star now hopes to secure the backing to continue to keep the Arab world at the pinnacle of world motor sport, as he edges ever-closer to F1 in the coming years. Shaaban will also be hoping that his potent performance at the demanding German circuit earlier this season will stand him in good stead second time around. “We know our car is very strong here and that gives us a powerful motivational boost coming into the races.”
Shaaban qualified sixth for the Hockenheim race earlier in the season, but was taken out of contention for a top finish on the first lap. “The goal has to be to absolutely maximise every last drop of myself, my car and my team. The best way forward is to remain focused on optimal performance and let things fall into place.”
The Lebanese has a calm and relaxed approach to F3 Euro Series racing and does not intend to change his mental attitude heading into the weekend. He has endured a roller-coaster season of highs and lows and is determined to finish the year on a high.
“My low point was at Zandvoort in July, after just missing out on my first top-10 F3 Euro Series finish at the Norisring. After an error minutes from the chequered flag, I went on to crash out of Zandvoort’s qualifying in the same place I’d crashed out in practice and duly qualified on the back row,” admits Shaaban.
“It took a lot of mental strength to maintain a positive and confident approach after that series of misfortunes. The high point so far has to be the races at Barcelona in September, where I scored my first top-10 and points’ finish on Saturday with a seventh place and then sealed the Arab world’s first ever international formula podium on Sunday.”
In the build-up to Hockenheim this weekend, Shaaban has been organising his winter testing programme in the World Series by Renault 3.5, similar to one used by Sebastien Vettel and Robert Kubica en route to F1. The Lebanese is hopeful that he can graduate to this established F1-feeder series in 2010 and will travel to the new Motorland Aragon circuit in Spain after Hockenheim to test the World Series car for the first time.
“My team, Prema, also field a car in this category. I have also been to Italy since Dijon to drive on a F1 simulator for the first time and to learn the Motorland Aragon layout ahead of my tests there. I hope it’s going to be an exciting few weeks, beginning in Hockenheim this weekend.”
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