Tuesday August 21, 2012
Contrasting fortunes for Jazeman and Zulfahmi on first day of Raya
By LIM TEIK HUAT
PETALING JAYA: Jazeman Jaafar and Mohd Zulfahmi Khairuddin, who had to don racing suits on the first day of Hari Raya Aidilfitri, experienced contrasting outcomes in their respective track outings over the weekend.
There were cheers for Jazeman as he chalked up a well-deserved podium finish in the Euro F3 series in Nurburgring, Germany, but Zulfahmi was bogged down by tyre issues and settled for sixth in the Moto3 race in the Indianapolis Grand Prix in the United States despite leading briefly in the early stages.
Jazeman was able to take advantage of several retirements on the opening lap to move up from his starting grid position of ninth to eventually finish third in the final race of the day.
He had finished fifth in the first race on Saturday and eighth in the second.
The Petronas-backed driver took part in the weekend’s Formula 3 Euro Series to bridge the long gap between British F3 rounds as the next event will not be held until the second week of September.
This is his second career podium in the Euro F3 series after he claimed the chequered flag at Brands Hatch in the United Kingdom round in May.
And it will be cherished by the 19-year-old as it was secured on a day where he was supposed to be celebrating Hari Raya with his family at home.
“It’s not the first time I have done this but it’s the first time I’ve had a podium finish on this special day,” Jazeman said from Nurburgring.
“I will catch up with the celebrations when I return home on Tuesday.
“The race itself wasn’t easy because the drivers behind me put me under considerable pressure and made me sweat in the heat.”
It was Jazeman’s third visit to the German Formula 1 venue.
His first outing was in Formula BMW three years ago. He returned last year for a round of the British F3 and scored two top five finishes.
Jazeman took part as a guest driver this time to maintain his race fitness.
While Jazeman will be heading home with a trophy in hand, a first-ever podium finish remains out of reach to Zulfahmi despite a promising start in Indianapolis.
He qualified fifth on the grid and raised early hopes when he pounced on a good start to seize the lead by the second lap.
But it only lasted two laps as tyre wear problems crept in and his timings dropped.
The Banting-born rider fell behind the leading group but hung on for sixth spot.
He maintained his sixth placing in the overall standings with a total of 76 points.