SHAABAN AIMS FOR A BIG FINISH AT HOCKENHEIM Arab driver looks to round of debut season in F3 Euro Series with a flourish Basil Shaaban is aiming to round off his debut season in the Formula 3 Euro Series with a flourish this weekend as the...
SHAABAN AIMS FOR A BIG FINISH AT HOCKENHEIM
Arab driver looks to round of debut season in F3 Euro Series with a flourish
Basil Shaaban is aiming to round off his debut season in the Formula 3 Euro Series with a flourish this weekend as the title race reaches a climax in Germany.
Shaaban takes his Shell Dallara-Merecedes-Benz into action at Hockenheim for the second time this year looking to bounce back from a frustrating sequence of events beyond his control during his latest outing in France.
Handling problems and two unfortunate encounters with Australian driver Michael Patrizi at the Nogaro circuit denied him the chance to build on his best performance of the season in Spain where he had gone within 0.158 seconds of a first top ten qualifying spot.
It has been a roller coaster ride for the Arab driver in the world's toughest F3 series, but the bigger picture shows he has taken a positive step towards his long-term goal of becoming the first Arab Formula One driver.
"It has been a fantastic experience and I have learned a great deal this season," said Shaaban, who was born in Beirut and raised in Abu Dhabi. "I've had my share of problems, but that's motor racing, and overall I've made a lot of progress.
"My pace has become more and more competitive as the season has progressed and now I'm hoping for a strong finish to my first F3 campaign and looking forward to a full winter test programme to set me up for next season."
Added Shaaban: "At Nogaro the car was handling badly from the start of practice and changes the team made overnight didn't make much of an improvement.
"In the first race, after I'd overtaken the German driver Marco Holzer, it started to rain and Patrizi spun right in front of me. I couldn't avoid sliding into him and damaged my front wing. In race two Patrizi hit into the rear end of my car, putting me into a spin, and the car felt even worse after that. It was very frustrating, but that's all behind me now."
Shaaban, who has been in Dubai this week for meetings with sponsors Shell and other potential backers for next season, has already tipped Frenchman Romain Grosjean to clinch the F3 Euro Series drivers' crown won two years ago by Lewis Hamilton.
Grosjean starts tomorrow's (Saturday) first of two races at Hockenheim this weekend holding a seven-point championship lead over Swiss rival Sebastien Buemi, and with six race wins behind him already this season looks to have the title in his grasp.
"That's the way it looks, and Grosjean definitely deserves to finish the season as champion because he's been the outstanding performer this year," said Shaaban. "But you can never take anything for granted in motor racing and Buemi won't be giving up without a fight."