TOP TEN START FOR CHINA FEATURE RACE Qualifying for the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport, Chengdu, China took place this afternoon at Goldenport circuit close to the city centre. Fairuz Fauzy took to the track in the Malaysian car, aiming for ...
TOP TEN START FOR CHINA FEATURE RACE
Qualifying for the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport, Chengdu, China took place this afternoon at Goldenport circuit close to the city centre. Fairuz Fauzy took to the track in the Malaysian car, aiming for strong qualifying positions for tomorrow's races. In warm, cloudy conditions the team completed a final practice session this morning and by the end of a tough qualifying session, Fauzy had posted lap times which gave him fourteenth place on the grid for the Sprint race and sixth position for the Feature race.
In morning practice Fauzy ran 30 laps, posting a best time of 1 min 17.103 seconds to put him 17th fastest. The hour long session was used by the team to refine the car set up for the track conditions today and for Fauzy to continue gaining experience of the technically demanding track, rather than outright speed, and the team were confident of considerable improvement in qualifying.
Afternoon qualifying with similar conditions to the morning promised to offer the biggest challenge of the weekend so far for Malaysia. With the drivers required to complete four flying laps, one in each of four segments, the team prepared the car for a series of low fuel sprints. The team opted to run with used tyres for the first of the two Sprint race runs and put on new tyres for the second one. However, logistical issues forced A1GP to cancel the second of the two runs, taking the grid positions from the first one in which Fauzy had posted 14th fastest time as he had run on used tyres.
Fauzy used a new set of tyres for the first of the two runs for the Feature race, posting ninth quickest lap. The majority of the grid opted to run late for their final run as earlier runs had proved quicker later in the session, but a red flag caused by Nicolas Prost nearly jeopardised their opportunity to improve on their time. However the clock was stopped, to allow the grid to put in a second qualifying run, and the battle for the top spots recommenced.
Fauzy used his first set of new tyres to set his best time of the weekend so far and with his second fastest lap improved further to line up in sixth place for tomorrow's Feature race.
He said after qualifying, "We had planned a series of changes through the qualifying session which was set to improve our lap times for each run, but unfortunately the cancellation of the second run meant we didn't qualify as well as we had hoped. We should have been around a similar position to our Feature race grid slot. The team put in a great effort to make changes between the sessions and keep us improving, so we're looking good for tomorrow."
Jack Cunningham, Chief Executive, A1 Team Malaysia said of the day's running, "This morning we had a game plan to work on the car and not worry about lap times or running new tyres, so we were all confident of showing our competitiveness in qualifying. The cancellation of part of the Sprint race qualifying session hurt us quite a lot as we ran on used tyres on our first run. We would certainly have improved our grid position well inside the top ten if we'd had a second run. I think the strong lap by Fairuz for the Feature race demonstrated that. Overall it's been a satisfactory start and I think we should be able to have two good races tomorrow."
The A1GP World Cup of Motorsport, Chengdu, China, reaches its climax tomorrow with two races, a 25 minute Sprint race and a 70 minute Feature race. Fans will also be entertained with the colourful pageant of the traditional A1GP driver parade and colourful opening ceremony.
The Series continues racing in two weeks time at Sepang, Malaysia, the final race of 2008 and the home race for the Malaysian team. In the New Year the teams will race in New Zealand, Indonesia, South Africa, Mexico, and Portugal with Great Britain hosting the A1GP finale.