Shahaan Engineer17-year-old Indian national Shahaan Engineer ends first year of car racing seventh overall from more than 50 championship entrants, with the highest points score of any first year driver, in the 2012 Formula Renault 2.0 Northern European Cup.

Just two weeks on from a star performance at Zandvoort where he secured his maiden Formula Renault 2.0 Northern European Cup (NEC) pole position and double podium finish, India’s Shahaan Engineer delivered yet another excellent showing in the championship at Spa-Francorchamps over the weekend, 13th/14th October.

The teenager produced a superb drive into the top five from 16th on the grid in round 19 which was a chaotic race, featuring two Safety Car periods and an early red flag stoppage which halted the action for 15 minutes.

Marking Shahaan’s first ever visit to the world-famous Belgian track, with barely 30-minutes to learn the seven kilometre circuit his terrific fifth place in race one – which was contested by 36 international drivers – helped the 17-year-old finish the year seventh in the championship and just a single point outside the top six from the 50 registered series participants.

The Fortec Motorsports driver also ends 2012 as the highest placed first year driver, in doing so out-performing a whole host of second and third year competitors in a category which isn’t an entry level series. Along with being the youngest driver in the championship, he is the first, and so far only, Indian driver to qualify on pole and take a podium finish in a European Formula Renault series.

“For me it’s a great testament to Shahaan’s development this year the sort of results he’s achieved and progress he’s made”, commented Jamie Dye, team manager of multiple championship winning team Fortec, “He really showed us how he is ready to start 2013 as a championship challenger; we’ll support him through the winter to help achieve this goal.”

Shahaan said: “It’s been a brilliant debut season in single-seaters for me. This last race weekend has been bittersweet though really, with a great result in the first race and then a gamble on tyre choice in race two. We went on slicks but rain began to fall ahead of the start and it felt like I was out on an ice-skating rink.

“Making a lucky call on the correct tyres meant the difference between a possible podium or an almost impossible race. Race one was fantastic though and I really want to thank the team for providing me with a flawless car for the whole season, and also for helping me achieve a great championship standing for my first year in cars.”

Keep up-to-date with Shahaan’s latest news during the year at www.shahaan.com follow him on Twitter @ShahaanEngineer and also on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ShahaanEngineer

Photo by Chris Schotanus / Essay Produkties.