Durban: Team Malaysia race report

A1 Team Malaysia Perserve To Collect Valuable Points In Durban The eighth round of the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport, Durban, held today in the coastal South African city, featured two exciting and dramatic races with A1 Team Malaysia enduring an...

A1 Team Malaysia Perserve To Collect Valuable Points In Durban

The eighth round of the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport, Durban, held today in the coastal South African city, featured two exciting and dramatic races with A1 Team Malaysia enduring an incident-filled Feature race to collect valuable championship points and an eighth place finish.

In the lead up to race day the team had endured difficult practice sessions and Yoong lined up in 17th place for the Sprint race.

At the green flag for the rolling start the Malaysian team were close behind the car of A1 Team China running down to the first corner hairpin. Early braking from this car caught Yoong out who, forced to brake hard, was unable to stop his car running into the back of the Chinese. Compounding this incident the Lebanon car hit the brakes early and unfortunately ran hard into the back of the Malaysian car, causing significant damage. Returning to the pits, the car was unable to continue.

The crew made repairs to the car in the time available and were ready in time for the Feature race this afternoon from 24th place.

Yoong made a clean start in this race but, in the run to the first corner, was pushed wide into a stationery South African car. Grabbing reverse gear the Malaysian team were able to continue. A spirited drive by Yoong and one of the quickest pit stops of the day by the crew put the team into the top ten, but a steering wheel failure a few laps later demanded another pitstop, putting the team at the back of the field two laps down.

Once again Yoong needed to race hard and clean and by half distance had brought the team back up to 12th place. In a frenetic second half, skilful driving and perseverance, topped off with a sweeping pass to take a position from A1 Team India, gave the Malaysian team an eighth place finish at the chequered flag.

Yoong said after the two races, "I'm gutted about the first race, with Lebanon hitting me up the rear so hard that I couldn't continue. We had to fix the wing, the corner and the floor, so that was tough for the crew, but they were brilliant and got me back out for the Feature race. We made a lot of changes from yesterday to today and we only got to see how good it was in the main race. And it was good. The pitstops had all been done, we were seventh and I thought we could get in to the top five, but then the steering wheel came loose. That lost us over a lap, but we managed to keep fighting to the end, and took India which was good as well."

Jack Cunningham, A1 Team Malaysia, Chief Executive, added, "Bearing in mind our relatively poor qualifying position, and the fact that we started the Feature Race from the back of the grid, we have done well here in Durban today, picking up valuable points, and leaving us still in a good position in the series.

Alex and the team continue to overcome the obstacles to bring us results. This race is one of the toughest on the calendar. The extreme heat and humidity combined with one of the most unforgiving, physically and mentally demanding tracks really tests the driver and the car. Only 11 cars finished the Feature race which shows just how difficult a test Durban is, so all credit must go to Alex and all the Team members."

The A1GP Series will return to race action next month with the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport, Mexico City, which will be held from 23 -- 25 March. The event will take place at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez Circuit, a 4.42 kilometre track close to the capital city of this South American nation. Previously used by Formula One, the circuit has recently featured as a round in CART, Champ Car and NASCAR.

A1 Team Malaysia now turns its focus to this event and is looking forward to representing its home country in Mexico next month.

-credit: team malaysia

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Series A1GP
Drivers Jack Cunningham