Spa helps Shaaban relax for Belgian test It's a playground for racing cars, says Arab driver ahead of British F3 examination Dubai: There's a well known saying in football that there is no such thing as a "friendly", and it is much the same...
Spa helps Shaaban relax for Belgian test
It's a playground for racing cars, says Arab driver ahead of British F3 examination
Dubai: There's a well known saying in football that there is no such thing as a "friendly", and it is much the same for racing drivers, as Basil Shaaban will underline this weekend.
With the F3 Euro Series taking a four-week beak before the next action at Brands Hatch, Shaaban has travelled with his Austrian-based HBR Motorsport team to Belgium to contest a round of the British F3 championship at Spa- Francorchamps.
As it is with the current summer series of friendly football matches taking place across Europe, there are no points at stake for Shaaban and his Spanish rookie team-mate, Daniel Campos Hull, although both will be out to impress.
"Spa is the best circuit I've yet driven," says Shaaban, who is relishing a weekend of bonus action in his Shell Dallara Mercedes. "It's one of Europe's longest at 7km, and with flowing corners, many undulations and a variety of corner speeds, it's a playground for a racing car.
"This is a rare weekend for us in the British F3 championship which, like the Euro Series, has some very good drivers. But there are fewer of them and there will be less pressure on me since this is basically like a "friendly match" in football.
"I'm glad my teammate, Daniel, is coming along, as we have little time to adapt the car's set-up to the British series' Avon tires, which are quite different from our Euro Series Kumho's. Having a second car present will help us get the optimal setup quicker".
While Shaaban's focus is clearly on the future, and ultimately a drive with a Formula One team, he is very much aware of past events which have combined to make Spa as controversial as it has become revered over the years as the venue for the F1 Belgian Grand Prix and the Spa 24 Hours endurance race.
Rated as one of the most challenging race tracks in the world, mainly due to its fast, hilly and twisty nature. Spa has been hosting motor sport events in the Ardennes region since the early 1920s, although major changes have been made to the original triangle circuit. Former F1 world champion Jackie Stewart drove efforts to improve safety at Spa after his crash there in 1966, when his BRM ended upside down in the cellar of the farmhouse beside the notorious Masta Kink, one of the most feared corners in motor racing. "There have been a lot of changes to the track since then and the current circuit was introduced in 1979 and is much safer," said Shaaban. "But it's still a very demanding test for any driver, and this will be a valuable weekend for us."
"I want to relax, have some fun, and let my natural driving instincts take over. I'm not setting any targets this in terms of finishing positions, and more than anything I'm hoping for a weekend without incident."