Brands Hatch: Team Malaysia preview

A1 TEAM MALAYSIA IN 'BATTLE OF BRITAIN' Ready to tackle the famous Brands Hatch circuit and 24 other national teams Brands Hatch, U.K. - Friday, 23rd Sep 2005 - The A1 Team Malaysia have landed in Britain at Brands Hatch circuit located ...

A1 TEAM MALAYSIA IN 'BATTLE OF BRITAIN'

Ready to tackle the famous Brands Hatch circuit and 24 other national teams

Brands Hatch, U.K. - Friday, 23rd Sep 2005 - The A1 Team Malaysia have landed in Britain at Brands Hatch circuit located southeast of London -- ready for the 'Battle of Britain' -- where team drivers Alex Yoong and Fairuz Fauzy will attempt to pitch Malaysia's prowess against 24 other nations from six continents in the A1 Grand Prix opening round.

Alex and Fairuz, have been extremely busy walking the circuit, consulting and conferring with their technical team as well as spending most of Thursday huddled over their Malaysian-made FTec laptops with the team's Chief Engineer, Greg Wheeler, analyzing past data of the circuit from other race series.

And while they are doing that it's appropriate to reflect on the history and characteristics of this great Brands Hatch circuit.

Ever since Brands Hatch was built in 1926, there have been many fewer races run in the full 4.22km Grand Prix version of the circuit than in the much shorter 1.92km Indy circuit because of the close proximity of residential homes at the far end of the Grand Prix circuit.

The heritage of Brands is vast -- name any famous driver from the last 50 years or so and they are bound to have cut their teeth racing there. Stirling Moss, Jim Clark, Barry Sheene, Jack Brabham, Derek Minter, Emerson Fittipaldi, Ayrton Senna are among the countless drivers to have raced and won at Brands in front of huge crowds over the years. Nigel Mansell scored his first Grand Prix victory there, also winning the final F1 race at Brands in 1986.

And, fittingly so, for the first ever World Cup of Motorsport, the A1 Grand Prix opening round in Britain, will use the Grand Prix circuit -- where the 4.22km unique combination of huge dip of Paddock Hill, cambers, fearsome corners and hills combined with the challenging Dingle Dell far end sections will test the Malaysian team's drivers to the full.

A1GP's round will be amongst the only four elite events to be held on the full Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit in 2005 together with the World & British Superbikes and the British Touring Car Championship.

We asked Yoong what his feeling of his first day at the first round's venue was and, animatedly, he said: "It is one of relief actually. Finally we are about to start the first race of the season and everyone in the team has worked extremely hard to get the Malaysian team here. We are all naturally delighted that we are in a position to start racing and we look forward to rewarding our efforts with a good weekend."

Yoong added, "There is a fantastic atmosphere here at the track. We expect 40,000 to attend on Sunday alone, which will make an incredible debut for the A1 GP series. It will be an amazing race for all of us to be a part of. A1 Team Malaysia is ready to go, and looking forward to the support of our Malaysian fans."

As for whether it will be Yoong or Fairuz who will be driving for Malaysia this weekend, the Malaysian team principal, Jack Cunningham, intimated that, "A decision will be made after Saturday's practices when both drivers will have taken to the track. Alex and I have agreed that the best interests of the team are paramount and it depends on which driver is more ready on the particular weekend on the particular race track who will do driving duties for any round. We are all certain that over the 12 rounds of the first year both Alex and Fairuz will be driving various rounds."

Both A1 Team Malaysia drivers had turned impressive performances at the two A1GP official tests held recently with Yoong finishing overall third in Silverstone's final day and Fairuz ninth in Paul Ricard's final day.

Fairuz is delighted to be in the thick of the team actions after testing with favourable results in Paul Ricard in France two weeks ago. He said, "I am pleasantly surprised at the environment and the infrastructure and how well organized this series is. I hope that all will go as planned for the team for this weekend. It will be the hardest weekend for everyone as it is the first A1GP race. We will all keep our chins up and do our best for Malaysia."

Two one hour practices will be held on Friday with one session on Saturday and the unique qualifying session of four fifteen minutes runs after that. Sunday's races will comprise the short sprint race followed by the main hour long race using the results of the sprint race as the starting grid.

-www.a1teammalaysia.com.my

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Series A1GP
Drivers Alex Yoong , Jim Clark , Ayrton Senna , Emerson Fittipaldi , Stirling Moss , Jack Brabham , Fairuz Fauzy , Jack Cunningham , Greg Wheeler