After finishing on the podium in Monaco, Jazeman Jaafar arrived at another of motorsports iconic racetracks of Spa-Francorchamps in high spirits. The Malaysian left the circuit on Sunday after two strong drives including a second podium of the year in race one having started down in fourteenth position on the starting grid.
Continuing to be ISR Racing’s sole representative in the Formula Renault 3.5 series in 2014, Jaafar continues to show promise. He was disappointed to qualify fourteenth on Saturday, but a combination of a low-downforce set-up and a number of high-profile retirements saw him climb steadily up the field. He was running fourth entering the final lap but drafted past the Strakka Racing machine of Matias Lainé on the long back straight to grab the podium position.
A much better qualifying effort on Sunday saw him line-up fifth on the grid, but he was delayed slightly by the opening lap incident between International Draco Racing’s Pietro Fantin and Fortec Motorsport’s Sergey Sirotkin, and ultimately he ended up finishing sixth.
“I wouldn’t have predicted a podium finish from starting 14th on Saturday, but holding your nerve, fearless driving and being able to put the power down when we needed to, produced a great result,” said Jaafar. “[Sunday’s] drive to sixth was also good, especially as I so nearly got caught up in the incident between Pietro and Sergey, which would probably have ended my race. But I did get held up by these two, so lost ground to the front-runners and didn’t have the pace of Saturday to be able to catch them.
“I’m really pleased with these two results. We had to work very hard to achieve these results, but persistence pays off. We still have some work to do to improve the car, but we’re heading in the right direction and now starting to show the level of performance which I know is achievable. After two races in a row it’s a shame I have to wait three weeks now – I’m itching to continue with the work and keep developing the car.”
Jaafar’s strong results in Monaco and Spa now see him sit sixth in the championship on 46 points, the same number as Monaco race winner Norman Nato. Despite being a one-car team, ISR Racing are also sixth in the Teams’ championship.