Ireland Look to Continue Good Form in Malaysia Dublin, November 17th, 2008; A1 Team Ireland heads to Sepang, Malaysia next weekend (November 21st-23rd) on a high following the victory and second place at the last round of the A1GP ...
Ireland Look to Continue Good Form in Malaysia
Dublin, November 17th, 2008; A1 Team Ireland heads to Sepang, Malaysia next weekend (November 21st-23rd) on a high following the victory and second place at the last round of the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport in China. After taking the laurels in the Sprint race and a fighting second place in the Feature race in Chengdu just over a week ago, Ireland will be hoping to continue the good form around the fast open sweeps of the Sepang circuit in round three of the worldwide series.
Ireland are currently joint second in the points standings with France, five points behind leaders Malaysia who will enjoy home advantage next weekend. The Ireland squad are confident they can upset the hosts on their home track, a circuit vastly different in character to Chengdu.
Lead driver Adam Carroll raced to seventh place in the Feature race last year and will be returning to a circuit for the first time since he joined the Irish team just after the start of last season. Given Ireland's enhanced competitiveness this season with the new Powered by Ferrari car being used in the series, Carroll believes that the Sepang circuit is the perfect place to showcase the Irish team's combined engineering and driving talents.
"I'm really looking forward to going to Sepang because I think we'll really see the potential of the new car," says Carroll. "This car has way more downforce and grip than the old one and around the fast turns of Sepang it's really going to show. Fitness will be key, especially in the heat and humidity there and plenty of drivers will be struggling towards the end of the races. I've been working really hard on my upper body and neck for some time now so I feel I'm ready for it. I can't wait."
Team Technical Director Gerry Hughes is also enthused about the prospect of racing in Malaysia this weekend, having accumulated extensive experience of the Sepang circuit during his years in Formula One.
"Sepang is a very different challenge from Chengdu in that it is much faster and will draw much more on the aerodynamic capabilities of the car," says Hughes. "None of the teams have any engineering data for this circuit but my knowledge of the basic requirements of the circuit in relation to the car, Adam's experience from last year and all the boys' collective experience of the venue will be called into play.
"Chengdu was a strong weekend for us but we're not taking anything for granted. Sepang will be a very different proposition and it's important for us to redouble our efforts to close the gap to the leaders on the points table. It will have to be a concerted effort throughout the weekend for us to that."
Team Principal Mark Gallagher believes that consistency is the key to Ireland maintaining its bid for title success this season.
"After the success we achieved in Chengdu, we go to Malaysia determined to build on our points tally and challenge Team Malaysia for the championship lead going into the Christmas and New Year break.
As we all know, winning every time out is not easy, so our approach will be to get the very best out of the car with Niall Quinn and Adam Carroll during practice on Friday and Saturday, translate that into the best possible qualifying position and then go for podium finishes in both races on Sunday. If another win can come our way, then that would be perfect, but the focus is on consistency and building Ireland's championship assault."
Niall Quinn (Test Driver): "It was great to be part of a winning team effort in China and I'm looking forward to driving the A1 car in Sepang for the first time. I'll be looking to get up to speed on the circuit as quickly as possible in order to give the team a good head start on set up for the weekend but, as always, the goal is to get as much consistent running as possible.
The 15 turn, 5.54 kilometre Sepang circuit was constructed in 1999 and this will be the third visit by the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport to the venue. The circuit is located in Selangor, 60 kilometres from the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur. The current lap record is held by Neel Jani of Switzerland in a time of 1m49.221s.
The timetable for the weekend's activities Practice commences on Friday at 10.45am (2.45am in Ireland) with qualifying on Saturday getting under way at 2.15pm (6.15am Ireland). Sunday's race action begins with the Sprint race at 11am (3am Ireland) followed by the Feature race at 3pm (7am Ireland).