Beijing: Team Malaysia race report

'MR PROFESSIONAL' SO NEARLY PULLS A RABBIT OUT The A1GP World Cup of Motorsport completed the third round of the Series in Beijing, China this weekend with A1 Team Malaysia running strong throughout the day, although unable to reflect this in...

'MR PROFESSIONAL' SO NEARLY PULLS A RABBIT OUT

The A1GP World Cup of Motorsport completed the third round of the Series in Beijing, China this weekend with A1 Team Malaysia running strong throughout the day, although unable to reflect this in the final race positions.

The Sprint race started with grid positions taken from yesterday's practice session after track safety improvement work forced the qualifying session to be cancelled. A1 Team Malaysia suffered a number of mechanical issues in the 25 minutes of running yesterday, which left the team lining up 15th for the green flag. With driver safety at the forefront, organisers elected to start the Sprint race behind the safety car. The narrow temporary street circuit offered few overtaking opportunities for Yoong and he was only able to improve by one place by the end of the fifteen lap race. Finishing 14th, the team lined up on the seventh row for the start of the Feature race.

In the main Feature race, Yoong had a very strong race, driving through the field from his 14th place start to fifth place by the final lap. In a race which featured numerous lengthy safety car periods for various track incidents, which was inevitable with this narrow street circuit, the Malaysian driver was able to run at a strong pace. With pressure from the Canadian car late in the race, Yoong was pushing harder and harder to fight off the challenge and on the final lap was caught out through the turn, sliding into the wall, and out of the race.

Yoong said after the race, "We kept it steady today and while many other cars around us dropped out of the race, we kept going. But although we were told before the race we would be penalised for short-cutting the chicane, I felt that many drivers were abusing this and it was hurting us. We just weren't as quick through this section by heeding this ruling. In the last few laps, with the car behind cutting through and being much quicker, I just pushed too hard, got on the dirty part of the track and clipped the wall. My day was over, and I'm gutted. After the lottery of yesterday which hurt our qualifying position, we managed to get through the field, only to fall off at the end, so I'm disappointed.

However, I think we've shown that we have the pace, evidenced by going from the back to the front of the field, we have a really strong team, great pitwork and the ability to win again."

A1 Team Malaysia Chief Executive, Jack Cunningham said "I am very proud of the team's performance today.

We were dealt a poor hand yesterday with what happened in practice but our strategy worked just fine till Alex just misjudged the chicane in one of the very last laps.

He and the team members are a little deflated but really there is nothing to feel bad about.

To drive a car that had near no set up, for lap after lap, with such patience, waiting as car after car fell off is to his credit. Excellent performance from our 'Mr Professional' and a car that was prepared superbly by our technical team.

By tomorrow morning I am sure the team members will have their heads up, coming back to KL to compete in the next A1GP event.

We have every reason to feel confident, being 5th in the series. It's a long way round the world to April 27 next year so we must remain patient, doing our very best to score points whenever we can. This weekend it wasn't possible but I think you saw the depth of the spirit of our team this weekend."

The A1GP World Cup of Motorsport moves on to the second of the three Asian rounds in two weeks time, with the teams on track at A1 Team Malaysia's home race which will be held at Sepang circuit in Kuala Lumpur from 24 -- 26 November.

-credit: www.a1teammalaysia.com.my.

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Series A1GP
Drivers Jack Cunningham