Jaffer Impresses On Formula Renault NEC Debut
Mumbai-born racer Zaamin Jaffer delivered an impressively strong account of himself at Zandvoort in The Netherlands over the weekend, 13th/14th August, with a double class podium on his debut in the Formula Renault 2.0 Northern European Cup.The 21-year-old, who is in his first season of 'slicks and wings' racing, seized the chance to gain some additional experience during the summer break from his regular commitments in the UK-based Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship and starred at Zandvoort with two excellent drives.Despite being at the wheel of the previous generation FR 2.0 car, the one he pilots in Formula Renault BARC, Zaamin outperformed a number of NEC regulars in their more powerful 2011 specification cars and finished second in class in each outing. His performances were especially notable considering the dreadful wet conditions which were prevalent throughout the event."It was a really positive weekend, we had good pace compared to the guys in the current spec cars and to finish ahead of so many of them - especially in race two - was fantastic", said the Indian racer, "Obviously they have more power than we do and in the wet they have much better tyres, they're softer, wider and have more grip, so to be able to mix it with them was really good."In terms of his class, Zaamin immediately led the way during the opening practice session and just missed out on pole position in qualifying by 0.3 seconds. In the first race he lapped consistently quicker than Hillspeed team-mate Howard Fuller but had to settle for second after a small mistake.Race two - which acted as support to the prestigious RTL GP Masters of Formula 3 - was by far the most impressive run for the Dubai-domiciled driver as he scythed his way through superbly from the back of the grid into 14th position overall and second in class again.After an unfortunate excursion at the beginning of second qualifying, Zaamin faced an incredibly tall order but by the end of lap one he had already climbed into the top 18 overall and progressed very well to gain another four positions before the conclusion on lap 12."I'm confident I could have won the class in both races", he explained, "I was consistently quicker than Howard (Fuller) in race one but the smallest of mistakes prevented me from challenging. In the second one, the problem there was the fact I was stuck behind one of the current spec cars while also defending from one of them as well so it took me a lap longer than him to get by."As soon as we got past, you could pull two or three seconds clear but they had a big advantage with more power and much better grip from their different tyres. The whole point of doing the weekend was to get some extra experience in race conditions in the Renault and to go up against some of the top European guys. Overall, I'm happy with how everything went and our level of performance."Zaamin's next outing will come as part of the regular Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship season with rounds nine and 10 taking place on Saturday, 3rd September, at the ultra-fast Thruxton Circuit in Hampshire. Ahead of the event, the Hillspeed driver is seventh in the points standings.