ON TOP: Jazeman, Nabil lead British F3, JK Racing Asia Series
HAVING gone five years without any title in single-seater racing, Malaysia is on the verge of a double celebration with Jazeman Firhan Jaafar and Nabil Jan Al Jeffri leading their respective series after a strong weekend at Silverstone.
After falling behind due to some bad luck mid season, Jazeman clawed his way back and re-established himself as the British F3 International Series leader with a victory and two podium finishes in Round Nine over the weekend.
But it was only after a successful appeal that 19-year-old Petronas-backed Jazeman was awarded victory in Race One on Saturday.
A video review of the start by stewards found Jazeman's appeal against pole sitter Alex Lynn of the Fortec Motorsport team for jumping the start was justified.
This saw the Briton demoted to fourth while Jazeman, who was second initially, gained his third win of the season.
Two second-placed finishes in Races Two and Three followed for Jazeman, who ironically was the last Malaysian to win an international single-seater title -- the 2007 Formula BMW Asia championship.
In the second race, he finished behind Puerto Rico's Felix Seralles, the Fortec Motorsport rider from whom he wrested the championship lead.
Then, Lynn claimed a rightful victory in Race Three with Jazeman close behind.
The Malaysian is now three races away from emerging with the title, with the final round at Donington Park on Sept 29-30.
"It's been very tense, very exciting, and ultimately, very rewarding for me.
"I came out fighting this weekend, determined to regain ground on Jack (Harvey) and Felix (Serralles) and I achieved my goals," said Jazeman.
"I was 20 points off the lead heading into Silverstone and I've turned that into a six-point advantage now.
"Three podiums from three races including a race win were just what I needed and getting back on top is a fantastic outcome.
"It's a great way to head to the final round of the championship, just a shame I have to wait three weeks. They are going to be a very long three weeks."
At the same circuit, MeritusGP's Afiq Ikhwan Yazid stole the show with sweeping victories in two JK Racing Asia Series races, but championship leader Nabil did just enough to consolidate his lead, heading into the final six races of the series.
There was simply no stopping Afiq, who had dominated the weekend right from free practice and qualifying ahead of Rounds Nine and 10.
He cruised to victories from pole and moved into striking distance of second spot in the championship.
Nabil, who was second in Round Nine and third in Round 10, now top the standings with a 42-point lead over second-placed South African Aston Hare.
The title is now the Malaysian's to lose, entering the final two weekends of the series in India.
But it wasn't really an ecstatic Nabil reviewing his weekend. Instead he voiced his disappointment in not extending the lead with victories.
"Finishing on the podium twice at Silverstone is really great. Not the best results but there was nothing much I could do about it," said Nabil of the Eurointernational team.
"I am disappointed for sure, because I expected more from the car and from myself.
"I think I drove my best, this was the best I could do and other than making a few mistakes running wide here and there.
"Right now, what is important is the championship points. For sure, every year there will be ups and downs, I guess this is one of my downs, even though it is not that bad."
British F3 championship standings: 1 Jazeman Firhan Jaafar (Mas) Carlin 282 points, 2 Felix Seralles (Pur) Fortec 276, 3 Jack Harvey (Gbr) Carlin 259, 4 Alex Lynn (Gbr) Fortec 226, 5 Carlos Sainz Jr (Spa) Carlin 226;
JK Racing Asia Series: 1 Nabil Jan Al Jeffri (Mas) Eurointernational 164 points, 2 Aston Hare (Rsa) Eurointernational 122, 3 Afiq Ikhwan Yazid (Mas) MeritusGP 101, 4 Irfan Ilyas (Mas) Eurointernational 93, 5 Tan Wei Ron (Mas) Eurointernational 67.