26 November 2011
Zaamin Jaffer continued his superb run of success in the United Arab Emirates-based Formula Gulf 1000 Championship in Dubai on Friday, 25th November – the Indian ace taking his second victory in as many race meetings in round five before sealing his fourth podium on the trot in round six.
Having made a big impression on his debut in the category three weeks ago by winning his first FG1000 race from pole position, the 21-year-old once again underlined his true pace and ability on his second weekend in the championship with a series of fantastic performances. From four races, his results tally now reads two wins, two second places, three pole positions and three fastest laps.
“It’s been another fantastic weekend, to be on the podium in all four races so far is just what we wanted to do and to take another win this weekend is great”, said Dubai-based Zaamin, “From the first four races we’ve done in FG1000, I think we’ve proved a point – especially beating a Formula 3 race winner like Joe Ghanem and Mohammed Al Mutawa from the FIA Young Driver Academy.”
Marking his first ever running on Dubai Autodrome’s 3.5-kilometre National Circuit, Mumbai-born Zaamin immediately got to grips with the track layout and during the all-important qualifying period he just missed out on pole position by a mere 0.028 seconds to former F3 competitor Ghanem.
Even so, Zaamin took the lead of round five at the first corner and knew he needed to try and pull out a gap on the pole-sitter. Punching in a series of fastest laps, he built an impressive cushion over his chief rival and took the win on lap 12 by 2.6 seconds. He also posted the fastest lap of the race with a time of 1m23.129 seconds.
The start to round six couldn’t have been more different as the lead group ran four abreast into Turn One. As Zaamin defended his line from one car, Ghanem was able to sneak through to take the lead and the resulting delay meant the Indian – who is the the sub-continent’s second most experienced circuit racer outside the FIA Formula One World Championship – slipped several places.
Determined to battle back into contention for the lead, Zaamin mounted a strong recovery and did latch on to Ghanem’s tail but just couldn’t quite get close enough to attempt a clear-cut pass and crossed the line only 0.6 seconds adrift at the chequered flag. Such was the pace of the lead pair, they finished over 14 seconds clear of Al Mutawa.
“I was on for a really quick lap in qualifying which would have given us pole position by about 0.2 seconds”, explained Zaamin, “Unfortunately I made a small mistake in the last sector though which made all the difference. Race one went perfectly really, I just got my head down to pull out a gap and then controlled it from there to save the front tyres as the track was really hard on them.
“There was lots of action at the start of race two, we were four wide going into turn one and as I blocked one car it gave Joe (Ghanem) a chance to get through. I did drop a few places but to come back through to second, and be right on Joe’s tail, was pretty satisfying. I really enjoyed my first experience of the National Circuit layout, it’s hard to overtake on but very good to drive.”
Rounds seven and eight of Formula Gulf 1000 will take place at Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi on 15th/16th December. Hopefully Zaamin will be able to continue his participation in the championship but he faces a race against time to secure the additional sponsorship required. Should he be forced onto the sidelines due to a lack of funding, series principal Barry Hope says it would be a major blow.
“Zaamin made a big impact on the UAE racing scene when he entered his first Formula Gulf 1000 event and promptly put his car on pole and won the first of two races”, commented Hope, “This created a great deal of attention, especially given the interest levels in the large Asian community in the region after the Formula One Grand Prix in India the previous weekend.
“His new followers were not disappointed either when he returned three weeks later to take another win. There’s a huge expectation now as to what Zaamin can do on the Grand Prix circuit in Abu Dhabi on 15th/16th December. I hope potential sponsors realise what a great investment this driver represents.”