The Malaysian flag flying high in Monte Carlo? Yes, that happened yesterday courtesy of Jazeman Jaafar with his first win in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series at the famed street circuit. The 22-year-old Petronas Talent Programme driver put in an outstanding performance, taking a lights to flag victory that lifted him to the top spot in the Drivers Championship.

With the who’s who in motor racing in attendance (the Formula Renault 3.5 Series is a support race for the Formula 1 main event, won by Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg), Jazeman had only one goal – to win the race after two podium finishes on his previous visits to the challenging Monaco street circuit.

Jazeman lined up in pole, and despite an audacious challenge from second placed driver and Jazeman’s Fortec Motorsports team mate, Oliver Rowland, held his ground for the lead. The Malaysian settled into a blistering pace and drew away from Dean Stoneman to take a commanding lead. However, a dramatic incident in the midfield caused the race to be red-flagged, with the grid of cars returning to the pits while the track was cleared.

The race resumed after a few minutes under the safety car for one lap before Jazeman retook the lead. With Dean still in second, Jazeman once again proved his mastery of the track, building a healthy lead and in the process putting in a series of fastest laps before taking the chequered flag.

“I feel on top of the world. It’s taken a while to come, but it feels absolutely fantastic to have won – and at the most iconic racing track in the world. When the red flag came out I got a bit nervous. It’s never good for the car to have to stop and start again, so you worry about possible technical problems from this. Thankfully the car felt brilliant and I was able to keep the pace up from start to finish,” Jazeman explained.

“What a fantastic weekend, I’m on such a high. To hear the Negaraku and our flag flying above me brought me close to tears – of happiness of course!” he added.

Jazeman now leads the Formula Renault 3.5 Series Drivers Championship with 49 points, one ahead of Rowland. The Series moves on to Spa Francorchamps in Belgium for the third round of racing and with this event being held next weekend, Jazeman has little time to enjoy his victory. Keep it up, Malaysia Boleh!