Beijing: Team Malaysia Saturday report

NEWLY BUILT STREET CIRCUIT PROBLEMS HAMPER QUALIFYING FOR A1 TEAM MALAYSIA The third round of the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport is being held in Beijing, China this weekend. A1 Team Malaysia will line up on the eighth row of the grid for...

NEWLY BUILT STREET CIRCUIT PROBLEMS HAMPER QUALIFYING FOR A1 TEAM MALAYSIA

The third round of the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport is being held in Beijing, China this weekend. A1 Team Malaysia will line up on the eighth row of the grid for tomorrow's Sprint race after problems with the temporary street circuit limited the practice session, a situation that was compounded for the Malaysian team by mechanical issues. Alex Yoong, driving today for the team, was limited to just ten laps of the circuit.

Initial track layout issues denied the A1GP field from running a full Friday session, with Fairuz Fauzy, along with the rest of the field, only completing two laps before practice was abandoned. Following overnight modifications to the Jingkai street circuit, the inaugural A1GP Beijing race weekend got underway today with the third official practice session. Alex Yoong was behind the wheel for A1 Team Malaysia.

After 25 minutes of action, the 90-minute long session was suspended following a red flag resulting from a manhole cover coming loose on the racing line between turns three and four. The problems led to the remainder of today's track action being cancelled. All necessary work to rectify the problem will be carried out this afternoon and the A1GP cars are expected back on track tomorrow.

Yoong said after the practice session, "I'm disappointed that we haven't had the chance to run properly at this track but we understand the difficulties being faced here. For A1 Team Malaysia this situation has been made worse, as I not only had gearbox issues in the time I was on track, but also rear roll bar problems. We didn't have a chance to put in a competitive lap, and our 15th place grid position is not reflective of our capabilities.

This narrow track has very limited opportunity for overtaking, so with this starting place we can't be too optimistic for tomorrow. It will probably hurt our championship standings but our goal will be to take as many points as possible away with us from China."

A1 Team Malaysia Chief Executive, Jack Cunningham comments, "A1GP has been breaking new ground from the time of conception, and with this inaugural event there have been a few teething problems. With the addition of Fairuz to the team this weekend, we had expected to be able to show our real capabilities. That's not been possible because of the circumstances. Never mind.

We ran only 10 laps and Alex had just begun to push when he had a spin caused by a fault in the roll bar. When he came in, he said that he thought the gearbox was shifting more than 1 gear at a time. Whilst the roll bar was sorted, the mechanics looked at the gearbox and found a pawl on a gear part cracked and a part broken. During the stop the session was red flagged and was not started again, hence our 10 laps.

Had Alex run the same as the other drivers, we can reasonably assume he would have been close to their times or better.

So we are nowhere near where we had hoped to be. But that's the way it goes sometimes and we are certainly not going to worry about it now.

We're now looking at managing our affairs, and being realistic about our chances tomorrow. I would add that in any street race, near anything can happen. So let's see where we are at 16h15 tomorrow."

The Feature race will take place tomorrow at 07.00 GMT. The Sprint race may be moved to allow for an additional practice period. The Malaysian round of the Series follows the Beijing event, taking place at the popular Sepang circuit, from 24 -- 26 November.

-credit: www.a1teammalaysia.com.my

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Series A1GP
Drivers Alex Yoong , Fairuz Fauzy , Jack Cunningham