Portimao: Team Malaysia Saturday notes

STRONG QUALIFYING FOR MALAYSIA IN PORTUGAL A1 Team Malaysia will start in sixth place for the Feature race and 11th position for the Sprint event at the Vodafone A1GP World Cup of Motorsport, Algarve, Portugal. Today's practice session preceded...

STRONG QUALIFYING FOR MALAYSIA IN PORTUGAL

A1 Team Malaysia will start in sixth place for the Feature race and 11th position for the Sprint event at the Vodafone A1GP World Cup of Motorsport, Algarve, Portugal. Today's practice session preceded a frantic qualifying session with red flags providing the biggest challenge for the teams.

The morning practice session, the final one before qualifying, started with a shower burst, forcing the team to quickly change their plans and put wet tyres on the car for the first few laps. Sunshine soon dried the track when the rain stopped and Malaysia put on dry tyres to start their final practice. Setup changes by the team proved positive, with the team running consistently in the top ten throughout the session.

Each driver is given an opportunity to sample a lap of PowerBoost in preparation for qualifying, when it can be used for one of the four laps. Fauzy was not able to take maximum advantage of this as he encountered traffic on his selected lap, dropping him down the order at the end of the practice hour.

The Sprint race qualifying session, with each team using the best of two laps to determine their grid position, was fast and furious. Red flags in each of the runs left Malaysia out on track in plenty of traffic, however Fauzy coped well and posted 11th fastest lap overall to take this position for the Sprint race.

The Feature race qualifying gave Fauzy two opportunities for flying lap runs. He ran on used tyres on the first of these, checking the balance of the car after the team had made changes to improve its handling. A1 Team Malaysia opted to use the PowerBoost for the final run, along with the majority of the teams, and with Fauzy driving hard, he produced the sixth fastest lap.

Fauzy said after qualifying, "We struggled to get heat in the tyres during practice, so we were able to improve the car for qualifying. We were lucky to be able to be out on track after the red flag in the first session, so we were able to get a feel for the car, but it wasn't a great lap as the track was very slippery. In the second run we improved, but it was still slippery and some of the teams used PowerBoost, so it wasn't a bad effort.

"For the Feature race qualifying we decided to change the car and decided to use the PowerBoost on the last run. Most of the other nations also used their PowerBoost, but we were able to snatch sixth fastest lap for a third row grid start. From this position we are in a good place to try for points, but with two pitstops and a very competitive grid of drivers, it will be very close racing. We need to keep out of trouble, stay reliable and keep up at the front."

Jack Cunningham, Chief Executive, A1 Team Malaysia, says of the team's performance today, "Starting around the top ten for the Sprint race and comfortably within it for the Feature races give us a fighting chance of good points finishes. It could be tough for the Sprint race with points awarded only to eighth place, but we should be able to take points from our Feature race starting slot. This track does offer quite a few overtaking opportunities and using these, as well as strong race and pitstop strategies will be key for good finishes tomorrow."

The A1GP Algarve brings A1GP to Portugal with its unique brand of nation versus nation racing. The countries will take to the track at 11am local time for the Sprint race and 3pm for the Feature race.

-credit: malaysia

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Series A1GP
Drivers Jack Cunningham