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Shahaan EngineerIndia’s Shahaan Engineer delivered on his notable pre-season promise during the opening event of the Formula Renault 2.0 Northern European Cup at Hockenheim in Germany over the weekend, 21st/22nd April, to round-out his series debut an impressive ninth overall in the standings – after also stunning the paddock with a sensational top three performance in the second qualifying session.

With heavy rain, and even hail, having a major say in the outcome of two of the three races at the home of the FIA Formula One World Championship’s German Grand Prix, 16-year-old Shahaan coped admirably with the challenge to deliver a pair of top eight results in rounds one and two.

Heading into the final race of the weekend on Sunday afternoon a superb fifth in the championship, hopes of consolidating his lofty placing in the driver standings were unfortunately wrecked when he was shunted out of the encounter on the third racing lap after being hit from behind.

Even so, the Dubai-based Fortec Motorsports driver concluded his maiden race weekend in Formula Renault 2.0 NEC ninth in the title chase, out of 39 drivers taking part, and ahead of such highly rated F1 aspirants as Vodafone McLaren-Mercedes-backed racer Nyck de Vries.

“I’m a bit gutted in the end, especially not to score any points in race three as it was really disappointing to be hit from behind”, said Shahaan, “There was nothing I could do, but we took some good points away in the first two races so overall I’m pretty happy with our first weekend in Formula Renault 2.0 NEC.”

In round one on Saturday, he calmly made his way into the top 10 during the opening laps before the Safety Car was deployed on lap six, prior to a race stoppage due to the onset of rain. At the re-start, Shahaan made no errors and worked his way into an impressive top eight finish.

For Sunday morning’s second round, too much wheelspin off the line meant the 16-year-old wasn’t able to make the most of his second row grid start and was bundled back to 10th place. Determined to make amends, Shahaan progressed back up the order and after a four lap Safety Car period he made it into a race one-equaling eighth position, pressuring Kevin Giovesi all the way to the flag.

Starting on the fourth row for the final encounter on Sunday afternoon, as per his finishing position from round one, the Fortec driver was taken out of the race on lap three when hit from behind. Subsequent rainfall led to the cessation of racing but even though Shahaan had eventually been able to fire his car back into life, he wasn’t allowed to take the re-start.

“It’s possible we could have left Hockenheim sixth in the championship if I’d been allowed back into race three”, he added, “But even with a non-finish, we’re ninth and the best of the rookies so that’s very satisfying for my first weekend racing in mainland Europe against so many top guys.”

Shahaan now travels immediately home to Dubai from Germany on a seven-hour flight in readiness for vital GCSE exams tomorrow morning, Monday, 23rd April. In terms of his racing, there is now a lengthy nine week gap in the championship calendar with rounds four and five taking place on 23rd/24th June at Germany’s Nurburgring.

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

Provisional 2012 Formula Renault 2.0 Northern European Cup Driver Standings (after Rd3):
1st Jake Dennis, 74pts; 9th Shahaan Engineer, 26pts

Photo by Chris Schotanus/Essay Produkties.

Shahaan EngineerFormula Renault 2.0 Northern European Cup (NEC) debutant Shahaan Engineer made an immediate impact on the category during official testing at Hockenheim in Germany over the course of the last two days, Thursday, 22nd March, and Friday, 23rd March, by instantly lapping on front-running pace.

Although forced to miss most of the first day’s six sessions due to an unfortunate excursion early on, which resulted in significant damage to his FR 2.0 car, the 16-year-old Fortec Motorsports driver had already managed to sensationally post the second quickest time during session one.

Shahaan had to sit out the remainder of the day, coincidentally while the Hockenheim track got progressively slower. Therefore, the car racing rookie retained his status as having the second quickest lap time at the day’s end on his maiden run at the home of the German Grand Prix – a time achieved using old tyres.

Fortec’s mechanics worked tirelessly to get Shahaan’s car repaired in time for the second day of running on Friday and did a terrific job to ensure he was able to be back on track. In the morning session, in spite of having missed out on the majority of the previous day’s testing, Shahaan posted the third quickest lap time just 0.025 seconds behind team-mate Josh Hill.

This remained third fastest to the conclusion of the running and, notably, the time was attained with steering which was out of alignment following the re-build of his car after Thursday’s accident.
“I was set-back with the accident as that compromised everything for the remainder of the test on day one”, said Shahaan, “I am really happy though with the pace we showed straight out of the box on Thursday morning. At the start of the week I had no idea we’d be in Germany just a couple of days later – to have been so quick, even with all the problems, is a good feeling.”

The other sessions on Friday were hampered by a series of issues including a broken wishbone on the suspension and a cracked exhaust manifold, all arising from the fact his entire car was rebuilt following the damage incurred on day one. With that in mind, all in all it was an incredibly strong performance from the Formula Renault 2.0 NEC newcomer.

As things stood this past Monday, 19th March, Shahaan and his Fortec team were at Brands Hatch preparing for the start of the Certina Formula Renault 2.0 UK Championship with the latest of the official pre-season tests.

Following an announcement that morning though, regarding the postponement of the UK series for 2012, quick decisions had to be taken over where the young Indian would compete this year – and the burgeoning NEC series was the perfect choice.

“It’s all been a huge rollercoaster ride in recent weeks but the last few days have been even crazier”, added Shahaan, “If someone had told me first thing on Monday we’d be testing in Germany a couple of days later in a different championship, I don’t think I’d have quite believed it!”

Rounds one and two of the 2012 Formula Renault 2.0 Northern European Cup (NEC) will take place on 21st/22nd April at Hockenheim. Keep up-to-date with Shahaan’s progress throughout the year at www.shahaan.com follow him on Twitter @ShahaanEngineer and also on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ShahaanEngineer

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.

Shahaan EngineerIndian car racing rookie Shahaan Engineer will make his full season debut directly in Europe rather than the UK this year it is confirmed today, Wednesday, 21st March, after switching to the prestigious Formula Renault 2.0 Northern European Cup (NEC) with Fortec Motorsports.

Following the news the Certina Formula Renault 2.0 UK Championship is being shelved for 2012, 16-year-old Shahaan will now race in the NEC series which utilises the same FR 2.0 car he has been testing during recent weeks and months.

Although the first official test of the Formula Renault 2.0 NEC pre-season has already taken place, Shahaan will be able to take part in the second test at Hockenheim in Germany tomorrow, Thursday, 22nd March, and Friday, 23rd March. The home of the FIA Formula One World Championship’s German Grand Prix will also host the first races of the NEC season on 21st/22nd April.

“This is a major development for my career and a very exciting one, the NEC is incredibly competitive and has a very strong grid of international drivers – I can’t wait to test at Hockenheim later this week”, said Shahaan.

“Testing in the UK has gone really well and although we know this move is going to be a huge challenge for my first full season in cars, it’s going to accelerate my development and give me great experience of some of the top European tracks and F1 venues like Hockenheim and Spa.”

Formula Renault 2.0 Northern European Cup has emerged as the one-make championship that complements Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 as the strongest on the globe. Valtteri Bottas, champion in 2008, is already part of F1 as test driver for Williams-Renault while reigning NEC Champion Carlos Sainz Jr is part of the Red Bull young driver programme and will race in British Formula 3 this year.

The NEC is entering its seventh season in 2012 and a grid of well over 20 cars is expected for the first event of the year. Following the season opener at Hockenheim, the series visits Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium before returning to Germany for two events – Nurburgring and Oschersleben.

From there, the second half of the championship will commence in early August at Assen in The Netherlands before visiting the Red Bull Ring in Austria and Most in the Czech Republic, prior to the season finale at Zandvoort on 22nd/23rd September.

“You have to race against the best drivers to try and be the best yourself, close competition is what I enjoy the most about racing and it doesn’t get much closer than in the NEC”, added Shahaan, “We’re really excited about this new opportunity that has arisen. I have another big learning curve with all new circuits to adapt to but I’m confident we can have a strong season.”

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

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.

Shahaan EngineerShahaan Engineer continued to deliver an exceptional standard during the latest Certina Formula Renault 2.0 UK Championship test of the pre-season at Oulton Park Island Circuit this week, the single-seater rookie ending both days third fastest – a mere fraction shy of the outright pace.

On Tuesday, 13th March, the 16-year-old Fortec Motorsports racer built further on the superb progress made at Snetterton in Norfolk last week. After choosing to sit out the first session, he took to the Oulton Park circuit – his first ever run on the 2.23 mile configuration – in the second morning run and, with very old tyres, lapped in 1m20.479 seconds (120.42mph).

With new rubber for the first afternoon outing he improved to 1m18.195 seconds (122.80mph) and then in the fourth and final session of the day, the young Indian posted a quickest time of 1m17.811 seconds (124.54mph).

Ultimately placing him third fastest overall, only 0.188 seconds shy of the top of the timesheets, he did have a chance on his final lap of the day to post the best time of anyone. Producing the quickest first sector, the smallest of errors in sector two proved costly so he had to settle for third fastest.

“It felt quite frustrating not to have ended the first day fastest, we were on course to do that but I made a small mistake on my last lap and that made the difference”, explained Shahaan, “It was a very good day for us overall but you always want to be quickest if you can. The car was working really well, we had a different engine from the one damaged at Snetterton and it all felt good.”

Shahaan was never out of the top three all day on Wednesday, 14th March, and was actually second fastest in two of the day’s four sessions, which were shared with slower cars from the InterSteps and Formula Ford championships.

Beginning day two with a best lap of 1m18.564 seconds (102.00mph), a session in which he sat atop the times for a large chunk of the 55-minute period until others elected to take new tyres, Shahaan improved to 1m18.395 seconds (102.22mph) in session two to go second quickest.

Session three proved pleasing and frustrating in equal measure. The Formula Renault 2.0 UK racer set consistently impressive times once again but was prevented from snatching the top spot when the session was red flagged. He concluded the run third fastest with a time of 1m18.417 seconds (102.19mph), only 0.1 seconds away from the head of the timing screens.

Rounding out the afternoon with another top two performance in the final run, posting his quickest lap of the day of 1m17.947 seconds (102.80mph), Shahaan concluded Wednesday third overall once again and within just over 0.2 seconds of the outright pace.

“Day two was good again for us, we were very consistent and always challenging in the top two or three so I’m quite happy with that”, he added, “We’re definitely moving in the right direction and the team is very happy with what we’ve achieved so far, that’s always what you want to hear. It’s been a good couple of days, now on to Brands Hatch next week!”

Officially timed pre-season testing continues on Monday, 19th March, and Tuesday, 20th March, at Brands Hatch Indy Circuit in Kent which will also be the venue for the first two rounds of the Certina Formula Renault 2.0 UK Championship on 31st March/1st April.

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.

Shahaan Engineer - Formula RenaultIndian teenager Shahaan Engineer is delighted to officially confirm his participation in the 2012 Certina Formula Renault 2.0 UK Championship after agreeing a deal with multiple title winning team Fortec Motorsports.

Remaining with the Daventry-based squad for his first full year of car racing competition, having debuted with Fortec last November in the six round Protyre Formula Renault 2.0 UK ‘Finals Series’, the 16-year-old will be one of the youngest and least experienced drivers in the ultra-competitive championship which begins on 31st March/1st April at Brands Hatch in Kent.

Currently competing in New Zealand’s Toyota Racing Series to gain essential mileage and seat time ahead of the main 2012 Formula Renault UK season, Shahaan is relishing the chance to continue his relationship with Fortec.

Utterly dominant last year, winning the driver and team Formula Renault UK titles, the Richard Dutton-led squad will provide the Indian with the best schooling possible in a championship which has produced the likes of FIA Formula One World Champions Kimi Raikkonen and Lewis Hamilton.

“It’s fantastic to be back racing with Fortec this year in Formula Renault UK”, said Shahaan, “There’s no doubt it’s the best team in the championship and I can’t wait for pre-season testing to start. It’ll be an unbelievably tough season, it’s such a competitive championship, but by racing with the best drivers and being with the champion team I’ll be able to learn a huge amount.”

Dubai-domiciled Shahaan only started his motor racing career in 2008 when he took the UAE karting scene by storm. In his first race in the Middle East Karting Cup, aged only 12, the young rookie took a superb victory by six seconds – a massive margin in karting terms.

Debuting in Europe only two months later, he ran in the top order immediately against experienced drivers two and three years his senior. In 2010, Shahaan arrived in the UK to compete in the Formula One Management-backed Formula Kart Stars series and starred on his debut – qualifying third and finishing fifth on his first weekend, the youngster’s talent was clear to see.

Last year, the decision to rapidly progress into single-seater car racing was taken. Making a huge impression on the Fortec Motorsports squad during his first ever test in a Formula Renault BARC car at the challenging Oulton Park, so impressive was his performance Shahaan was advised to forego the club-level series and debut instead in the full national-level Formula Renault UK series.

Joining Fortec for the winter ‘Finals Series’, the debutant qualified an outstanding eighth out of 29 competitors during his maiden session and went on to take five strong points-scoring results from the six races contested.

“Shahaan’s had a successful career in karting and his performances in the Finals Series demonstrated that he is more than capable of having a strong season with us”, said Fortec’s Formula Renault UK team manager Alex Fleming, “Although still very young, he is extremely focused and I’m sure that his hard work will pay off this season.”

Shahaan has one event remaining in the Toyota Racing Series, next weekend (11th/12th February) at Manfeild Autocourse in New Zealand. From there, he will return to the UK in readiness for his testing programme with Fortec ahead of the 2012 Certina Formula Renault 2.0 UK Championship season.

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.

Shahaan Engineer - Toyota Racing SeriesShahaan Engineer enjoyed his strongest and most competitive event of the 2012 Toyota Racing Series so far at Hampton Downs in New Zealand over the weekend, 4th/5th February, with a best result of seventh place in the second of three races.

Making huge steps forward in terms of his overall pace and skill, the 16-year-old – who has been consistently capable of making great starts throughout the TRS campaign – raced superbly across the weekend and produced some great overtaking moves, battling wheel-to-wheel with top talent.

While race two delivered the best result of the weekend, seventh from 13th on the grid, the headline encounter which rounded off the event, the 20-lap New Zealand Motor Cup, should have provided another top 10 finish – ninth to be precise.

However, an ongoing battle between two drivers just in front of Shahaan, at the exit of turn nine on the final lap, resulted in the pair crashing and forced the young ETEC Motorsport driver to take avoiding action through the gravel.

“I came out of the corner and there they were, scattered across the track blocking the entire exit of the corner”, explained Shahaan, “I had nowhere to go except the gravel trap because my reaction was to turn right and avoid the mess. By the time I got back on the track I had lost several places and finished 13th.”

The end result of race three was disappointing for the car racing rookie after a great drive through from 13th on the grid into ninth. With the exit of turn nine of the 2.8-kilometre track being blind though, Shahaan’s lightning reactions in avoiding a serious collision impressed his ETEC team.

Race one on Saturday afternoon was quite a sedate affair with Shahaan, and the majority of the rest of the top 15, all finishing where they started – in his case, 13th position. His race two result of seventh place was the best of the weekend of course but the tenacity and ability displayed in race three was a highlight.

ETEC race engineer Michael Olsen commented: “This has been the best week so far for Shahaan in the TRS, there has been a huge improvement in his technique, pace, consistency and mindset. Although we’re happy with the seventh place in race two, and we know the race three incident did lose Shahaan several positions, what’s more important is the learning and progress and the way he conducted himself throughout the weekend.

“There were two Safety Car periods, lots of blocking and overtaking, and he then did a great job of avoiding a high-speed collision in front of him. Shahaan showed great presence of mind to calmly get back on the circuit out of the gravel, against the odds, and still take home some respectable points.”

Of the 12 races contested so far in the Toyota Racing Series, the soon-to-be UK domiciled driver has posted 11 finishes with improving pace and consistency against a highly rated competition-base featuring racers with experience of Formula 3, GP3 and Formula Renault 3.5. Furthermore, the rookie hasn’t been involved in a single red flag incident in any of the 24 practice sessions so far.

The grand finale of the five-event championship, rounds 13, 14 and 15, will take place next weekend, 11th/12th February, at Manfeild Autocourse near Feilding, New Zealand.

Photo by Toyota Racing Series.

Shahaan Engineer - Toyota Racing SeriesShahaan Engineer enjoyed a successful debut weekend in the Toyota Racing Series in New Zealand, the 16 year old taking sixth place from a 19 strong grid in the ‘Spirit of a Nation’ feature race, despite being the youngest driver in the series.

This year’s Toyota Racing Series has the most international flavour of any in the championship’s history with 19 drivers from 12 countries, and four continents, the standard, therefore, is incredibly high.

The opening race saw Shahaan finish eleventh after a throttle problem deprived him off a top six finish, which was exactly where he finished in race two in severe weather conditions including rain and hail.

ETEC Motorsport team principal Trevor Sheumack on Shahaan’s impressive feature race finish: “Despite being the youngest driver on the grid of this, the most concentrated racing series in the world, Shahaan remained focused and brought the car home weather conditions severe even as per Invercargill standards.”

Conditions for the third race were even more shocking with rivers of water covering the track. Shahaan led the 19-strong field from the reverse top six pole position, as rainfall and increasing winds made racing near-impossible.

Unfortunately, contact with another driver ended his race just one corner before it was declared ended due to force Majeure. “I had no heat in my brakes and drove over the weather condition limits. No points for the third race;” Reiterated the young teenager, but I wouldn’t exchange the experience for anything as I got a rare chance this early in my career to experience leading a world-class field of senior drivers on the first race weekend in a premier single seater series under historically severe conditions where the race was declared after just one lap.”

Round two of the back-to-back five weekend Toyota Racing Series will take place on 21st/22nd January at Timaru International Raceway. At the conclusion of the New Zealand championship, Shahaan will return to Britain where he will prepare for his first full season in the Certina Formula Renault 2.0 UK Championship with reigning champion team Fortec Motorsports.

Shahaan EngineerTalented motor racing newcomer Shahaan Engineer will continue his single-seater education just two weeks from now after officially confirming his participation in the 2012 Toyota Racing Series – the final round of which will be the 57th running of the prestigious New Zealand Grand Prix.

Dubai-based Shahaan, who is just 16-years-of-age, will be the youngest and least experienced driver in the Kiwi championship when it commences in mid-January. Notably, he will also be the youngest competitor in the New Zealand GP on 11th/12th February which, back in the 1960s, was won by such racing legends as Sir Stirling Moss, Jack Brabham and Jackie Stewart.

After enjoying an impressive car racing debut during the recent Protyre Formula Renault UK Finals Series, where he out-performed a large number of experienced competitors and qualified eighth fastest out of 29 drivers on his first weekend, Shahaan is now looking to benefit from vital track time in New Zealand as he seeks to hone his skills ahead of the 2012 Formula Renault UK Championship.

Toyota Racing Series will field the largest overseas entry in the category’s history when it begins on 14th/15th January – what’s more, the level of competition will be fierce with drivers from top-line championships such as GP2 and Formula Renault 3.5 taking part. Once again, the 15-race campaign will further enhance the category’s status as a key proving ground for aspiring Formula One drivers.

Competitors in the 2012 series will enjoy a large amount of seat time, covering more than 2,500 kilometres during testing and racing over the five consecutive race weekends which will take place across the length and breadth of New Zealand.

“I am really excited to race in the Toyota Racing Series, mainly because of the high level of drivers I will have the opportunity to compete against and learn from”, said Shahaan, “There is no other series in the world where a rookie can race against drivers with experience of GP2, Formula Renault 3.5 and other senior championships.”

The Toyota Racing Series, which boasts full FIA (Federation Internationale de L’Automobile) status, will take place over five back-to-back weekends between mid-January and mid-February with the opening three races to be contested on 14th/15th January at Teretonga Park, Invercargill.

From there, the increasingly popular championship will travel to Timaru International Raceway, Taupo Motorsport Park and then Hampton Downs in Auckland. The grand finale of the season, the 57th New Zealand Grand Prix, will be held on 11th/12th February at Manfeild in Feilding.

“With our first race starting at Teretonga on January 14th and the series finishing just four weeks later at the New Zealand Grand Prix at Manfeild on February 12th, the Toyota Racing Series now offers the most concentrated and intense international series in the world”, added TRS category manager Barrie Thomlinson.

Driver Profile
Full Name: Shahaan Sharokh Engineer
Date of Birth: 6th September 1995
Birthplace: Mumbai, India
Residence: Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Height: 170cm
Weight: 66kg
Website: www.shahaan.com

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.

Shahaan EngineerMumbai-born Shahaan Engineer has underlined his position as India’s best young hope for a future career in the FIA Formula One World Championship after making a major impression on the Formula Renault UK Championship’s six race ‘Finals Series’.

Undertaking his car racing debut in what has widely been regarded as the most competitive Finals Series (formerly the Winter Series) in the category’s history, the 16-year-old karting graduate was the only single-seater rookie and the youngest driver on the near-capacity 29-car grid at Snetterton (5/6 November) and Rockingham (12 November) but shone with a series of excellent performances.

Joining Formula Renault UK’s top team Fortec Motorsports for his maiden campaign, Shahaan picked up his pace throughout testing ahead of the first four rounds of the Finals Series at Snetterton 300 Circuit and stunned the paddock in his maiden qualifying session with the eighth fastest time.

In spite of an unfortunate grid penalty for rounds one and two, due to yellow flags being shown at the time he set his best lap, Shahaan raced through the order brilliantly and outperformed drivers with experience of Formula Renault UK, Eurocup Formula Renault, Formula BMW and Formula Ford.

Serving up tremendous overtaking moves in horrendous wet conditions, far belying his inexperience, the talented Indian newcomer finished 13th in his first race – out of 29 competitors – and then took 14th place in race two.

During rounds three and four on the second day at Snetterton, he secured a pair of top 12 finishes to cap a superb first ever weekend in cars. More than that, both results were achieved despite starting way down the order in an uncharacteristic 26th position in each instance due to missing the entirety of the second qualifying session because of a faulty wiring loom.

Moving on to the incredibly challenging Rockingham International Super Sports Car Circuit this past weekend for rounds five and six, Shahaan quickly got up to speed once more with qualifying again taking place in tough, damp conditions along with the added complication of early fog.

Racing through to 14th position in the first race to post his fifth points-scoring finish from five starts, Shahaan eclipsed all of his previous outings in the last round of the championship by climbing his way into ninth place and on course for a truly memorable conclusion to the Finals Series.

India’s freshest motor racing star on fast track to success…
Matching podium finishing pace, the teenager lapped with a best time of 1m17.955 seconds as he reeled in the cars ahead but on lap 14 – with only three further laps remaining in the race – Shahaan was unfortunately punished heavily for the smallest of errors with a disappointing retirement.

Building in confidence all the time and eager to push for an even better result than ninth, at the exit of the fifth corner he just caught one of the remaining damp patches on the track and was powerless to prevent his car spinning off onto the infield.

“I just pushed a bit too hard trying to catch the cars in front”, he said after round six, “I wanted a bit more than ninth place as the pace was really good and I felt really comfortable with the car. The adrenaline rush was tremendous as I realised I had just a few laps left with a top 10 in hand.

“I was confident of catching the three cars in front but I just caught the damp patch and spun. It’s a real shame but it’s still been a very strong and positive weekend. Overall I’m really happy with what we’ve achieved in such a short space of time over the last two weekends, it’s been fantastic.”

So impressive has the young Indian’s debut car racing campaign been, Fortec Motorsports has declared its desire to sign Shahaan to a contract for the main 2012 season which is expected to get underway in Britain at the beginning of April.

Team owner Richard Dutton commented: “Shahaan did an amazing job and showed true race spirit in his first few races in a race car, we look forward to learning more of what Shahaan can show us and are happy to continue into 2012 with him.”

Perhaps most impressive of all though is the fact in 12 days of testing and racing in challenging, wet weather Shahaan incurred no damage whatsoever to his car – proving his terrific natural car control and tremendous awareness on circuit.

The chief aim over the past two weekends has been to achieve maximum track time and to learn about starts and racecraft. In doing all of that with a commitment and maturity of a driver of far senior years, India’s freshest star of the track has made a significant first impression…

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.