It was a superb second place finish for Jazeman in the opening race of the Formula Renault 3.5 Series at Motorland Aragon in Spain on Saturday. The young Malaysian proudly stood on the podium with the Jalur Gemilang above him after the race, celebrating a great result from his first race of the year.
The young Malaysian driver backed this up with seventh place in yesterday’s race to put him third in the Drivers Championship standings, a great start for the PETRONAS Talent Programme driver. Jazeman’s team, Fortec Motorsports, leads the Teams Championship.
Jazeman put in a very strong performance throughout the whole weekend, putting into practice all the experience he’s gained in his career so far. He began on Friday with sixth fastest lap in the first practice session, before setting second quickest time in the second session. He carried this momentum through to qualifying on Saturdaymorning with a time which put him fourth on the grid for the first race.
At the start of Saturday’s race polesitter Matthieu Vaxiviere was slow off the grid. Second placed Meindert van Buuren was quicker off the line to take the lead, however he had jumped the start so although he led the race, he had a 20 second penalty. Jazeman’s team mate at Fortec Motorsports, Oliver Rowland followed Meindert with Jazeman and Dean Stoneman close on his heels. The quartet stayed in position from green flag to chequered flag, a great second place finish for Jazeman.
Jazeman said after the race, “I am very happy with this one-two finish for Fortec Motorsports. The team worked very hard during the winter to get this result. The low downforce configuration brought a huge challenge. I would have obviously liked to have been a bit faster in qualifying and in the race but I am thrilled with this result.”
Sunday morning’s qualifying showed Jazeman’s consistency with another fourth quickest lap, despite difficult weather conditions. The session began in the wet, with the rain stopping during the session and allowing the field to change to slick tyres to set their qualifying times. Jazeman’s maturity shone through as he coped with the conditions and maintained his form.
The afternoon race was a very different story to the first one. With persistent heavy rain the series organisers opted to start the race behind the safety car. After touring the Motorland circuit for a few laps the rain worsened, leaving the drivers with very little visibility. After five laps of paced laps with the safety car the stewards had no alternative but to red flag the race until the storm passed through.
After a break of 20 minutes the cars re-assembled and the race began for the second time, again behind the safety car. When the green flag was shown Jazeman lost no time in challenging his team mate with the Fortec Motorsports pairing dicing through the opening laps. However with evenly matched cars, Jazeman wasn’t able to make the move stick and with the pitstop window opening, soon the order shuffled. After the mandatory tyre change pitstops, Jazeman dropped back, losing a few places to lie in seventh place, a position he held until the chequered flag.
Jazeman commented on the second race, “It was a tough race today. The first start was just horrendous, I just wasn’t able to see anything except spray from the cars in front. Thankfully they decided to stop the race. The rain wasn’t as bad for the second race and it did ease off, but that made it a challenge on the tyres, as it wasn’t really wet enough for wet tyres in some places, but too wet for slicks, so we had to stay on wets for the whole race. I was running well at the beginning  – I had third fastest lap of the race – but just lost out when I came back out on track after the pitstop, which was disappointing. However, I racked up some more points and to leave Motorland in third place in the championship is a good place to be.”
Jazeman has a month to wait until the next round of the Formula Renault 3.5 Series, with the third of 17 races taking place in Monaco on 24th May, alongside the Formula 1 Grand Prix.
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