After a four week break, Carlin’s British F3 team head overseas to Portugal this week, for the penultimate round of the 2009 Cooper Tires British F3 Series. The championship winning squad are aiming for the top again at the new Portimao circuit, where current championship leader Daniel Ricciardo could take the 2009 title. Racing alongside Ricciardo will be regular front runner Max Chilton, Henry Arundel and Philip Major. Joining Carlin’s British F3 team for the final two races of the season will be Lebanese driver Joe Ghanem who will compete in the National Class.

Ghanem returns to Carlin having made his European racing debut with the team in 2007 in the competitive Formula Renault Eurocup championship. Ghanem also raced for the team in the Formula Renault UK Winter Cup alongside Henry Surtees in October 2007. The 19 year-old racer will make his debut in British F3 in Alvaro Parente’s 2005 championship winning car when he joins the National Class grid in Portugal.

Last time out at Silverstone, Australian racer Ricciardo extended his lead in the championship standings to 45 points, with only four races remaining. If Ricciardo scores more or equal points to his championship rivals, the 20 year-old racer could wrap up the championship in Portugal.

However, championship contender Ricciardo is staying calm ahead of the Portimao race saying, “I’m not changing anything about my approach this weekend. I feel confident, but mainly I’m just looking forward to racing on a great track, with the added challenge of racing against some of the F3 Euro Series drivers. I think I respond well to pressure and a challenge, so I’m looking forward to racing against new drivers this weekend. It’s the kind of track that should suit my driving style and our car well.”

Speaking about his F3 debut, Ghanem said, “I’m really excited to be back with Carlin and racing again in the UK. The F3 car is such a nice car and I think the British F3 Series can prepare a driver for anything. These two races will be a learning ground for me and training for my 2010 season. Hopefully I can be fighting at the front of the National Class, but it is most important get race miles and learn a lot.”

Carlin team boss Trevor Carlin added, “Portimao will be a new experience for most of the British F3 teams, so it’s going to be important to get to grips with the circuit as soon as possible. In theory it is possible for Daniel to win the championship in Portugal, but we will approach the weekend the same as any other, with the aim to provide all the drivers with a car capable of winning. Joe makes a welcome return to the team, racing our National Class F3 car for the remaining two events. It will be a steep learning curve for him, but we believe he’ll do a good job for us.”