Sepang: Team Malaysia Sunday notes

HOME CROWD SUPPORT KEEPS A1 TEAM MALAYSIA'S SPIRITS UP At today's A1GP race at Sepang in Malaysia, Fauzy had a storming start to the Feature race keeping his fourth place start and pushing hard for position but a clash between India and ...

HOME CROWD SUPPORT KEEPS A1 TEAM MALAYSIA'S SPIRITS UP

At today's A1GP race at Sepang in Malaysia, Fauzy had a storming start to the Feature race keeping his fourth place start and pushing hard for position but a clash between India and Switzerland brought out the safety car and the Malaysia car had to hold position. When racing resumed Fauzy was straight on to the PowerBoost and out braked the third placed car of Lebanon to claim third place.

Malaysia held position until the first round of pit stops, with the team pitting as soon as the pit window opened and with quick work from the crew, Fauzy was back out and settling in to the race. Disaster struck for the team when radio interference from another team, who were calling in their driver, resulted in Fauzy unnecessarily pitting. The team could do nothing but wave him out onto the track, but the damage was done. Fauzy had dropped to the back of the grid and had to climb back through the field. He reached 11th place with seven laps remaining, but with the Malaysia car lying over five seconds behind 10th place Italy, a championship point looked unlikely. Fauzy had other thoughts. Over the next seven laps he pushed as hard as he could and reeled in the Italian ahead, finally claiming a coveted point on the last lap.

Fauzy expressed his disappointment saying, "Throughout the race my car was very strong, but I just suffered a few handling problems, nothing major though. The team called me in for the first pit stop, it was fine, and we went out in the same position again, with the same gap to second placed Portugal. After ten laps I was struggling with over steer on the car, I'm not sure why - maybe the rear tyres pressures were too high, or the rears had just gone. I tried to radio the team, got nothing, and then Box this lap, Box this lap, and then Copy that, then I boxed. When I came in I saw the team was not ready so I knew something was not right. I just had to carry on, but obviously I was very disappointed.

"Considering we had the extra pit stop it was a really good recovery, the car was very strong. I think if we hadn't had the pit issue, we would have had a podium. After the last pit stop, I was running about a second quicker, it's tough for us all."

Fauzy said of his home race, "At the end of the day, we win, we lose, we are the one team and the most important thing is the support. At the end of the day the crowd showed me such support, I was able to use this and was able to catch and finish in the top 10. The most important thing is we scored one point; every point is like gold and will make a lot of difference towards the end of the season."

This morning's Sprint race drama began before the green flag had a chance to wave following a spectacular three car incident involving the India, USA and Brazil cars which saw the American and Brazilian cars becoming airborne over the top of the Indian car just as the cars neared the start/finish line. The race had to be stopped for the cars and the debris to be removed from the track, but the restart was soon underway, although this time the field were paced by the safety car.

The start was clean for Malaysia with Fauzy holding 12th at the restart. The pack thundered past the start finish to start the next lap and the Malaysian was on the power and looking to move up the grid. When South Africa and Italy fought for position ahead of him, Fauzy made a daring move down the inside, taking advantage of their fighting to claim two places in a superb passing move. However the team's elation soon turned to disappointment when the South African driver made an over ambitious move down the inside of Fauzy at the second turn not giving the Malaysian car any room and spearing into the side of the car, puncturing a tyre. Fauzy was forced to make a pit stop for new tyres, but still had to stop again as the stop was outside of the mandatory pit stop window.

Running at the back of the pack one lap down, Fauzy was powerless to make up any ground and the team had to accept defeat for this race determined to turn around their fortunes for the Feature race.

Of the earlier Sprint race Fauzy said, "I was disappointed with the Sprint race as I had just passed two cars and put myself in contention for a points finish when I was just taken out by South Africa. It's not a passing place on this track and I think they should have been penalised for it at least. After that incident, all we could do was push on and use the race to prepare for the Feature event."

Jack Cunningham, Chief Executive, concluded, "Things certainly didn't go our way today. We were caught out in two 'freak' incidents today. South Africa giving us a puncture was unnecessary, but it's just a case of 'that's racing'. The Feature race radio problem is nearly inexplicable, and has to be put down as outright bad luck. Despite all our problems this weekend we come away with a point and fifth place in the Series standings. \Above all, we have the support of our nation as we were clearly shown today at Sepang. We would like to thank everyone who came to cheer us on and share in our highs and lows. Our fans give us the inspiration and motivation to keep improving, aiming high and successfully representing Malaysia."

The A1GP World Cup of Motorsport moves on to Taupo, New Zealand for the first of seven races next year. The event, to be held from 23 -- 25 January 2009, sees the A1GP nations return to this popular Asia Pacific outpost.

-credit: malaysia

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