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Donington 12/10/2008 - 06 Days, 05 Hrs, 16 Mins
DRIVER NEWS: Al Fardan Wraps up Season with Twelfth Podium


DRIVER NEWS: Gulf Finance House (GFH) driver Hamad Al Fardan will  leave  Rockingham  Motor  Speedway  in  Northamptonshire  this  weekend  having secured his twelfth podium of the 2007 season and cementing his third place in the Lloyds TSB Insurance British F3 International Series National Class Championship.

The young Bahraini has had his fair share of challenges to overcome this year and with twenty-eight of the best young drivers across the globe competing in the finale Rockingham was set to provide the ultimate challenge. Al Fardan was 17 points clear of fourth place man Michael Meadows at the start of the weekend and with the Brit electing not to  contest  the  final  round  of  the  season  Al Fardan  had  already done enough  to  secure  third  in  the  championship  before  even  stepping  in  his  Dallara Mugen Honda.

Qualifying 1: 2nd  position 1:18.056

Qualifying 2: 5th  position 1:17.776 (4 laps)

Damp  tricky  conditions  and  two  red  flags  involving  Mihai  Marinescu  early  on  in session one on Saturday morning meant Al Fardan was up against it in qualifying at the Northamptonshire track. After early rain the track started to dry and a switch to slicks enabled Al Fardan put  in the second fastest time of the session lining up  in race one just behind Mexican Sergio Perez.

A red flag at the beginning of qualifying two delayed the field and once the session got underway the difficult conditions got the better of Al Fardan and on his fourth lap the young  Bahraini  spun  his  Dallara unable  to  take  part  in  the  remainder of  the session; he was to start race two from the back of the grid.

Race One: 3rd  position 29:25.740 (1 lap)

Race Two: DNF 15:32.613 (12 laps)

After two difficult qualifying sessions race day at Rockingham proved be one of the most   challenging   of   Al   Fardan's   season.   Conditions   on   track   had   improved considerably  overnight  and Al Fardan made a  dream start  in race  one passing his Mexican rival Sergio Perez for the lead. The young Bahraini was driving brilliantly and withholding  pressure  from  the  National  Class  Champion  but  unfortunately  for  Al Fardan Perez was determined to win even if it meant using force and on lap four of the race  Al Fardan was hit  by Perez from behind  and  sent into a spin. Al Fardan rejoined the race and eventually finished in third position, his dream of a first win shattered.

Despite  starting  from  the  back  of  the  grid  Al  Fardan  was  determined  to  put  the disappointment  of race one behind him  and he made an outstanding start to  race two  moving  up  into  third  position.  Unfortunately  it  seemed  the  weekend  was destined to bring disappointment for the young Bahraini and on lap 12 he drove his Dallara Mugen  Honda into the  pits and out of the race; the culprit being a loss of engine power.

Commenting on the weekend and his first season in British F3 Al Fardan said "I was disappointed with race one because I think I could've had my first win of the season but I  am  still  happy  to  have got my twelfth podium and secure third place in  the championship. It's been great to race with all these experienced drivers and I think despite a difficult start to the season I have shown that I have the ability to run with the front runners. I am looking forward to coming back next year and competing for Championship Class wins."

Peter Panayiotou, Acting CEO for GFH added "It has been an honour watching and supporting  Hamad  this  season.  He  has  been  such  an  inspiration  to  GFH  and  the Kingdom of Bahrain and we would like to congratulate him on his third place in the championship in just his first year of racing in the UK."

Final National Class Championship positions after 22 rounds:

1. Sergio Perez 376

2. Frankie Cheng 220

3. Hamad Al Fardan 182

4. Michael Meadows 153

5. Salman Al Khalifa 149

This season was very much a learning year for Al Fardan as he got to grips with the top  UK  circuits  and  his  Dallara  Formula  3  car,  but  impressive  race performances mean   the  GFH  backed  driver  has  finished  the  season  third  in  class,  a  truly remarkable feat for his first year racing in the UK.

Watch this space for news on Hamad's 2008 season and his planned assault on the Lloyds TSB Insurance British F3 International Series Championship Class.

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