DOUBLE UNLUCKY A1 TEAM MALAYSIA AT ZHUHAI
An eighth place start for A1 Team Malaysia in the Feature race at the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport, Zhuhai China offered the team the promise of a strong points finish, but instead it was intense disappointment for the team after two retirements in the races today. Yoong and the Malaysian team were the innocent victims of other drivers' incidents in both the Sprint and Feature races.
They suffered their first misfortune in the Sprint race, with the race less than a lap underway. At the rolling start Yoong diced for position as the pack rushed down to the first corner and was quickly gaining places, but his improvement was short-lived. A clash of cars ahead blocked the racetrack and although the experienced Malaysian driver took avoiding action he picked up a rear tyre puncture as one of his rivals clipped the back of his car. Yoong limped back to the pits, but the Malaysian crew found the car had sustained damage which needed immediate repair which precluded him from returning to the race.
"I was just an innocent victim," said Yoong of the incident. "It's always the risk that you have when you start further back and today we were unlucky enough to be caught out by starting on the ninth row. There's quite a lot of damage to the car and the guys are going to have their work cut out getting the Malaysian car repaired in time for the Feature race grid."
The crew worked fast and diligently in the break between the two races and the striking yellow car of Malaysia was ready for the start of the Feature race with minutes to spare.
The standing start grid was formed and when the red lights went out the cars powered off the line and down to the first corner. Three cars collided as they went through the first few corners, with all drivers battling hard. Sadly it was another rough day for the Malaysian team, with a hard side swipe from the New Zealand car pushing Yoong off track, into a fast slide across the track and spinning into the barriers, causing extensive damage to the Malaysian car and putting them out of the race.
Yoong said after the race, "I can't believe how much bad luck we've had this weekend. It's just been one thing after another. I can only hope it's all come at once and that there won't be any more. I am particularly upset with Jonny Reid. Having worked so hard to be ready for the Feature race, I feel we were taken off the circuit unnecessarily by the NZL driver and this is not the first time. It seems that he was driving under such intense pressure that he made an unacceptable move, with disastrous consequences for us. It's a difficult times like this that you have to be strong and we are at A1 Team Malaysia. Watch out Taupo, we'll be back out with renewed vigour to get those points we deserve."
Jack Cunningham, Chief Executive A1 Team Malaysia, said after the Zhuhai event, "We're all bitterly disappointed with the outcome of this weekend. Everyone in the team has pulled out all the stops today after being the unwitting victim of a first lap incident in the sprint race. Having worked so hard to be ready for the Feature race, it's even tougher to take a second hit. At these times we need to dig deep, keep our spirits high and move on, and that's exactly what we shall do. We will certainly be back in action at Taupo with a resolve to show the form we know we have within us."
A1 Team Malaysia will take a five week break until the New Year, when they will return to track action in the Southern most A1GP race, in Taupo, New Zealand. All the A1GP cars will travel by sea freight to the island, leaving China next week.