Laguna Seca: Team Malaysia race report

A1 Team Malaysia salvages tenth from a difficult day A1 Team Malaysia, with its best qualifying performance of the season yesterday, was able to add another point for the team's World Cup of Motorsport points standings. The team takes away a...

A1 Team Malaysia salvages tenth from a difficult day

A1 Team Malaysia, with its best qualifying performance of the season yesterday, was able to add another point for the team's World Cup of Motorsport points standings. The team takes away a tenth place finish in the Feature race and a retirement in the Sprint race, from the Laguna Seca, California event, the penultimate round of the A1 Grand Prix 2005-2006 season.

In the Feature race, the track was damp after earlier heavy rain and along with most teams, Malaysia opted to start the race on wet tyres. Starting from the back end of the grid after retirement in the Sprint race, Yoong had his work cut out to make it into the top ten, but he attacked from the start. After a quick pit stop to change to slick tyres as soon as regulations allowed, Yoong was off in pursuit of Series points. His attacking style and the lack of grip he experienced left him with a spin and an off-track excursion, but Yoong was relentless and committed. His hard work and endurance was repaid with a tenth place finish. While other front-running cars retired from track incidents, Yoong battled on to the end.

For the Sprint race, A1 Team Malaysia lined up fourth on the grid after the team's best qualifying performance. Just ten minutes before the green flag the weather changed from bright sunshine to a hard downpour of rain, forcing all the teams to change from slick tyres to wets.

The torrential rain falling so close to the start left A1 Team Malaysia, along with all the other teams, no time to change the car setup for these weather conditions. Yoong took the start and with spray from cars ahead resulting in minimal visibility the experienced driver was able to hold position in the opening laps. As the race progressed he found the car had very little grip and consequently struggled to keep pace, then dropped back a few places before a spin put him into the gravel. He was unable to extract the car from the gravel, leaving him stranded and out of the race.

Yoong said at the end of the weekend, "The team worked exceptionally hard in difficult conditions and although we didn't get the results we wanted, we did manage to salvage a World Cup of Motorsport point for the team.

We raced in the most difficult conditions of the season in the Sprint race and I fell victim to them. It was disappointing for us, as starting from fourth, we should have been able to finish strongly. In the feature race I struggled from lack of grip and had to work really hard to keep four wheels on track for the hour of racing. My perseverance was rewarded with a point though."

Jack Cunningham, A1 Team Malaysia Team Principal added, "The weather really didn't help us this weekend -- less track time than usual hurt our race preparations and the torrential rain made the Sprint race a bit of a lottery. Still, taking away another top-ten finish is a small consolation. Twelve top ten finishes from twenty races shows our consistency. China is our final opportunity to record two more strong finishes and we'll be going all-out for these in Shanghai."

A1 Grand Prix now moves on to China in three weeks time for the final round of the Series, which will take place at the Shanghai circuit, a state-of-the-art facility, from 31 March to 2 April.

-team malaysia-

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Series A1GP
Drivers Jack Cunningham