The A1GP World Cup of Motorsport has entertained crowds of motorsport fans around the globe with its unique brand of nation versus nation motor racing with over 20 nations competing for the championship, seven rounds and fourteen races of fast and furious racing. Aaron Lim is making his debut for the team at this event and took part in his first A1GP qualifying sessions for tomorrow's races at the Brands Hatch circuit in Kent, this afternoon. The session ended with A1 Team Malaysia starting 18th for the Sprint race and 20th for the Feature race tomorrow.
The Malaysian team resumed their preparations for tomorrow's races with the final practice in the morning giving Lim his final opportunity to continue learning the challenges of the Brands Hatch track and to refine the car set up for the qualifying session. A red flag during the session interrupted the team's running and a second one in the closing stages brought the session to a premature end leaving Malaysia no opportunity to practice the use of the PowerBoost, which is one of the key features of qualifying.
In the afternoon the A1GP qualifying session saw the teams compete head to head in four segments of 'flying lap' runs, with the best two lap times from the first two runs determining the grid positions for the Sprint race and the best time of the last two runs setting the grid for the Feature race.
Lim put in a solid first lap and then tried his PowerBoost for the second lap, resulting in 18th place for the Sprint race. On his final runs Lim put in two more consistent laps, and although he was unable to match his pace from the earlier run, he recorded a lap time which gave him a 20th place start for the Feature race.
Lim said of his qualifying session, "I have never done a qualifying session like this until today. It was quite nerve wracking and very different to what I'm used to. On my out lap I had to concentrate on warming the brakes and bringing the tyres up to temperature. It took me the first run to get used to everything and in the first and last runs I caught traffic, but I kept learning in each session. I used the PowerBoost in my second run, but I didn't really maximise the use of it, as it was the first clear run I had and I didn't push too hard, making sure I brought the car back in one piece. We'll put in the best effort we can from our grid positions and I'm hoping that we can gain more places in the races tomorrow."
Jack Cunningham, Chief Executive, A1 Team Malaysia added, "It was always going to be a tough qualifying session for Aaron as he has had no experience of this type of qualifying format. He has also never used the PowerBoost, which can significantly impact on lap times, and under these circumstances he performed well.
"Aaron is one of only three Malaysian drivers to have reached this level of international motor racing driving a car of this power and capabilities, compared to probably around 500 drivers from Great Britain, USA, Italy, Germany and many other countries. Lining up on the grid tomorrow for the two A1GP races is, in itself, a huge achievement.
"We'll be on the grid tomorrow aiming to improve on the grid position from the Sprint race and then make further progress in the Feature race. I am sure that A1GP will put on a great show for the fans and television audiences worldwide. We're famous for wheel-to-wheel, thrilling racing and I hope that the fans of A1GP all around the world are given a finale to remember."
The final races of this second season of A1GP racing take place tomorrow with a 20 minutes Sprint race giving the fans the first taste of the 600 bhp race cars powering round the Grand Prix circuit in anger. The 70 minutes Feature event will conclude the 2008/09 season, with two mandatory tyre change pitstops adding to the excitement and spectacle of the racing.