Basil Shaaban in Zandvoort Masters of F3 race
The UAE-based Formula 3 racing driver, Basil Shaaban, takes a welcome break from this season’s F3 Euro Series commitments to take part in the prestigious Tango Masters of F3 meeting at Zandvoort in Holland this weekend.
The Shell-backed driver is racing with the Prema Powerteam in the 20-race series at the wheel of a Dallara Mercedes-Benz F308/309, but is relishing the chance to impress at the Dutch circuit, the scene of many famous racing occasions.
Basil raced at the F3 Masters for the first time at Zolder last year and has competed at Zandvoort on two previous occasions in the F3 Euro Series. “I am familiar with the circuit, but I also know that there are key sectors where I haven’t maximised the car’s potential in previous visits,” admits the Lebanese.
Shaaban was frustrated at the recent F3 Euro Series meeting at the Lausitzring. “We discovered a broken front anti-roll bar after the first race and this was the cause of the significant handling problems I faced. Then my car wouldn’t engage first gear on the grid for the second race and it only worked after the field had passed the first corner.
“We managed to improve the set-up as the weekend went on and I was running quickly on the qualifying lap where I slid off into the gravel. Looking at the events in a positive light, it was a great learning curve on all fronts and the experience will stand me in good stead at Zandvoort this weekend.”
The Masters of F3 was founded at Zandvoort in 1991 and returns to the Dutch coast for the first time in two years, after noise restrictions forced it to be moved to Zolder in Belgium for the last two seasons. Former winners include David Coulthard, Takuma Sato and Lewis Hamilton.
“The F3 Masters is a unique opportunity for the drivers and teams from the Euro Series and the national F3 championships in Europe to compete against each other,” enthuses Shaaban. “To win the Masters is a notable achievement in a driver’s career. It is also a great experience to race at Zandvoort, one of Europe’s most technical, unique and historic circuits.
“We will be using a special tyre, different to the pattern used in normal championships, so this race poses a special challenge for drivers and engineers alike. The F3 Masters doesn’t influence the Euro Series points table and that takes away some of the pressure. It allows us to adopt a more aggressive approach to this race.”
The Tango Masters of F3 track timetable gets underway at 09.00hrs on Saturday morning (June 13th) with a 30-minute practice session. The F3 entrants are sharing the weekend with the Euro Boss Series, the Dutch Supercar Challenge and the European Formula BMW series, but return to the track from 11.45hrs and 15.00hrs for a series of timed qualifying sessions.
The 25-lap Tango Masters of F3 race starts at 14.00hrs on June 14th.