India's Shahaan Engineer Impresses On Formula Renault UK Debut
India's Shahaan Engineer enjoyed a fantastically competitive debut in Formula Renault UK during the first event of the six-race 'Finals Series' at Snetterton in Norfolk over the weekend, 5th/6th November - the highlight performance coming on day two where he secured a pair of terrific top 12 finishes. Having posted a magnificent eighth fastest time out of 29 competitors during his maiden qualifying session on Saturday in tricky wet conditions, the 16-year-old Fortec Motorsports driver overcame a grid penalty - applied due to yellow flags being shown on his fastest lap - to finish 13th and 14th in rounds one and two respectively.Further enhancing his rapidly increasing reputation on Sunday, the Mumbai-born youngster calmly and maturely fought his way through to 12th place in each of the races even though he had to start both from a lowly 26th on the grid. An unfortunate wiring loom issue in qualifying meant he was unable to set a representative time, leaving a literal mountain to climb.Nonetheless, on lap one of round three he stormed away and gained eight positions and prior to the emergence of the Safety Car at the beginning of lap three the category's youngest competitor made even more progress to rise into 14th place.At the re-start on lap seven, he worked his way into 12th and although shuffled back to 15th on lap eight he maintained his composure to battle back through into the top 12, capping a remarkable drive from the rear of the grid. In addition, his pace was confirmed with the 11th fastest of lap of all. In round four he had it all to do again from 26th on the grid but, incredibly, he repeated the feat despite having been put wide on the grass yards from the start as drivers darted across the track to try and avoid the stalled car of pole position starter Josh Hill.Recovering to the circuit well without incident, Shahaan somehow managed to gain four spots on lap one and by the start of lap three he was into 18th. Setting his best lap on the eighth tour, the 10th fastest of the race overall, the Indian newcomer then showed great awareness to avoid a collision between Jordan King and Jake Dennis on lap 13 and in turn moved ahead of Nick McBride for 12th."It's been a good weekend for us, I'm happy with the progress we made", said Shahaan, "We had some issues to overcome, the grid penalty on Saturday and then the wiring loom on Sunday, but the races went well and I was able to finish ahead of some really experienced guys. I've learnt a lot but there's much more to do, hopefully we can be even stronger next weekend at Rockingham."Producing a series of standout performances this weekend, as part of what is being widely regarded as the most competitive ever Finals Series, the Formula Renault UK debutant is now looking ahead to rounds five and six this coming Saturday, 12th November, at Rockingham in Northamptonshire.