It was another championship point for Malaysia in the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport event at Taupo, New Zealand today with Fairuz Fauzy racing to an eighth place finish in the Sprint race and 11th place finish in the Feature race. The point earned...
It was another championship point for Malaysia in the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport event at Taupo, New Zealand today with Fairuz Fauzy racing to an eighth place finish in the Sprint race and 11th place finish in the Feature race. The point earned in the Sprint race has kept the team in the lead group of the World Cup of Motorsport standings in seventh place.
In the Sprint race the opening lap produced its customary opportunity for overtaking. Fauzy was one of the few drivers to make passes on the opening lap, moving up to 8th place after passing New Zealand in the second turn. Malaysia, along with many other nations made an early pitstop and although the crew made quick work of the tyre changing, Fauzy exited his pitbox behind the Australian car. The Australian driver struggled to get his gears engaged, holding up Malaysia in the run down the pitlane to rejoin the track. The Malaysian engineers estimated that this slow return to the race cost the team at least two places.
After all the cars had made their mandatory tyre change stop, Fauzy remained in eighth place with six laps remaining. Despite closing on the cars ahead in the last few laps he was unable to make a pass and took the chequered flag in eighth position, scoring a valuable World Cup of Motorsport point.
Of the Sprint race Fauzy said, "We had a good start and the car was very competitive handling wise, but I'm not satisfied with the engine and I was losing speed on the straight to other cars. It's something we'll check on the data. The team did a great job in the pits, but when I pulled away from the garage the Australian car was slow. He seemed to be suffering from a gear engagement problem. There's nothing we could do, but instead of being at 60kph, it was 30kph, so we lost time and probably at least two places. At least we scored a point."
The Feature race start was a melee of cars and dust powering down to the first corner. There was plenty of jostling and in the fight to the first corner, Malaysia lost ground and dropped to seventh place by the end of the first lap. Fairuz pushed on in the opening section of the race. However, he smelt coolant in the cockpit and was struggling for power in the high speed sections of the track. Pitting early for the first of the two mandatory pitstops, the team quickly changed all four tyres and Fauzy was soon rejoining the track, maintaining seventh place.
The second pitstop window opened after 22 laps and Malaysia chose to pit early. Neat and quick work from the Malaysian crew put Fauzy back out on track without loss of position. With 12 laps remaining a stranded Monaco car brought out the safety car and after two laps of running behind it, the field returned to full speed racing. Fauzy easily held position but was unable to pass the hugely experienced, former F1 driver, Robert Doornbos. In the closing stages Fauzy lost the rear of his car in turn 12 and spun off track. He was able to recover but had dropped down to 11th place.
At the end of the race when the crew had had a chance to look over the car there was found to be a hole in the radiator, probably from debris on track. This undoubtedly seriously affected the engine performance, and Fauzy did well to battle through to the finish.
Fauzy said of the Feature race, "I didn't get the best start and dropped a place. After a few laps I smelt coolant and there were warning lights on, but I just had to carry on. I was losing power in a straight line, but just had to change my driving style to try and compensate for this. In the second stop I came out behind the slower A1 Team China car so I wasn't able to use my tyres to the maximum. It was a bit frustrating, especially with the lack of power. It was a shame I spun at the end: I'm not sure whether there was oil as the Indonesian car had gone off ahead of me. It was a shame as we threw away seventh place, where we would have been in the points."
Jack Cunningham, Chief Executive, adds, "We've salvaged a point from this weekend which is a positive and we're lying seventh in the overall standings, still in touch with the leading group of nations. We're under halfway through the season and we have to work towards moving back into the top five. Despite the disappointment for Fairuz in the closing laps, I think he, and all the team, are continuing to show their strengths and abilities. I know that we can get the results we need and we move on to South Africa with the determination to succeed."
The A1GP World Cup of Motorsport moves on to South Africa next month for the fifth event of the season. Kyalami circuit in Johannesburg will host the A1GP Series for the first time, following three successful events at a street circuit in Durban. The A1GP World Cup of Motorsport, Gauteng takes place from 20 -- 22 February.
* A1 Team Malaysia promoted to 10th in Taupo Feature
A1 Team Malaysia has just been promoted to 10th place in the Feature race standings of today in Taupo due to A1 Team USA being penalised.
As a result the team has gained a valuable extra point today bringing the points tally to two and securing 7th position in the overall championship standings.