Durban: Team Malaysia Friday report

WET OPENING DAY FOR A1 TEAM MALAYSIA IN SOUTH AFRICA Durban, South Africa, 27 January 2006 -- The arrival of A1 Grand Prix in Durban is a landmark event for the city and for this new motor racing series, with the Kwa Zulu Natal...

WET OPENING DAY FOR A1 TEAM MALAYSIA IN SOUTH AFRICA

Durban, South Africa, 27 January 2006 -- The arrival of A1 Grand Prix in Durban is a landmark event for the city and for this new motor racing series, with the Kwa Zulu Natal capital hosting the first-ever A1 Grand Prix street race.

A temporary 3.2 kilometre track has been created around the city and Northern Beach area and the A1 teams were given their first taste of the circuit this afternoon in the first two practice sessions, in preparation for Sunday's race.

Alex Yoong, driving for A1 Team Malaysia set the 18th fastest time in the first hour of practice and 14th quickest in the second session.

The opening day of practice didn't feature the expected South African sunshine, with morning showers resulting in a damp track for the first session and heavy rain in the afternoon.

The team suffered with an oil leak in the first session which limited their running to only four laps. The rain then hampered the team's efforts to improve on the earlier practice times, as well as an unplanned excursion across a temporary chicane for Yoong which curtailed the Malaysian's session with front nose and wing damage caused by the high kerbs.

Lap times tumbled in the closing minutes of practice as the track dried, pushing Team Malaysia down to 14th place by the end of the hour session, although the team had been running comfortably within the top ten for much of the session.

"It was a difficult day. The wet conditions made things a bit tricky, and we only completed four laps in the first session. The second session was better and we were running around third or fourth quickest but when I went to straight-line a chicane as I was carrying too much speed through, I destroyed my nose. I hope we'll be able to improve tomorrow when the forecast is for better, drier weather" said Yoong, at the end of the day.

Jack Cunningham, Team Principal, added, "This wasn't the start we had hoped for, but there's another practice session, so we have more time to continue to work on the car and prepare for afternoon qualifying. Durban has welcomed A1 Grand Prix with open arms and this street race event should be a major success for both the Series and for South Africa. They have done a superb job with the track; it's a very exciting event."

A1 Team Malaysia is one of 25 national teams represented on the A1 Grand Prix grid. The A1 racing cars for each team are identical, presenting a level playing field, and bringing the focus to the expertise, skill and bravery of the drivers. The Series visits 12 venues through the winter, traveling to the Middle East, Asia, Australia, USA, South America, South Africa and Europe.

8TV is the official Malaysian broadcaster of the A1 Grand Prix of Nations.

-team malaysia-

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About this article
Series A1GP
Drivers Alex Yoong , Jack Cunningham