MALAYSIA BIDS FAREWELL TO THIRD SEASON OF A1GP A1 Team Malaysia finished the final race weekend of the 2007/08 season today with mixed fortunes. A retirement in the Feature race followed an 11th place finish in the Sprint, closing out the most...
MALAYSIA BIDS FAREWELL TO THIRD SEASON OF A1GP
A1 Team Malaysia finished the final race weekend of the 2007/08 season today with mixed fortunes. A retirement in the Feature race followed an 11th place finish in the Sprint, closing out the most competitive season of the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport so far. With the introduction of new Ferrari-powered cars for next season, Brands Hatch was the venue to bid farewell to the original A1GP car that has introduced this popular Series to a worldwide audience.
A1 Team Malaysia started the Sprint from the 14th place grid position with the team sporting the logo of a new commercial partner, MAS Kargo, the cargo division of Malaysia Airlines, on the front wing end plates of the car.
The sprint race rolling start saw the field race down to Paddock Hill Bend, one of the most dramatic corners of this British track, and Fauzy was one of the few drivers to make any improvement on his start position, gaining a position on the opening lap to lie 13th. With only 15 laps of racing and only four 'PowerBoost' opportunities, the field was very evenly matched and uncharacteristically produced an uneventful Sprint race. After 20 minutes of racing, Fauzy brought the Malaysia car home in 13th place
Malaysia once again made a good start for the Feature race, making up a position by the end of the first lap. Three laps later a clash between Australia and Pakistan brought out the safety car and Malaysia held position in 11th until racing resumed. The first pit stop window opened one lap later and Malaysia, along with many others made their stop. They returned to the track and after all the nations had pitted, Fauzy remained in 11th.
Fauzy moved up to 10th place and into the points shortly after all the pit stops had been completed and as the race entered the mid-phase he was on the pace but unable to challenge the cars ahead. As the laps counted down the drama continued with the German car off into the gravel with a slow puncture, which would have elevated Malaysia to ninth place, but in a turn of bad luck, electronic problems ended the team's race, with Fauzy having to return to the pits and retire.
Fauzy said after a highly competitive day of racing, "The sprint race just didn't give us a chance to make up many positions. I don't think there were many overtaking manoeuvres, but we were able to take one at the beginning however we didn't make it into the points. In the second race I think we were on for a strong top ten finish but the car was misfiring and there was no alternative but to retire, which was a disappointing way to finish the season."
Jack Cunningham, Chief Executive of the team, added, "We didn't finish the Feature race or the season in the way that we wanted. I would prefer that we had reached the chequered flag in the feature race, but that's the way it goes sometimes. We have ended up 15th in the championship having had a season of mixed fortunes, and quite a few weekends bringing us no points at all. In four races we were taken off by other cars and in three races we have suffered rare technical failures that have resulted in our failing to finish the races. Through all this the team has worked incredibly hard in a very tough season in a series that is now highly competitive. I would like to pay tribute to each and every team member for the work they have put in, sometimes under quite difficult circumstances. My thanks go to them all for their efforts. I'd also like to offer my best wishes to team member Rodney Magness who leaves us today and we wish him all the best for the future.
In closing, I would like to pay tribute to all at A1 Team Switzerland who are worthy winners this season and to Lola and Zytek for the enduring and unparalleled reliability of the car/engine combination that we have run in the first three seasons of the World Cup of Motorsport."
Today's races marked the conclusion of the 2007/08 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport, with the 22 nations competing in the Series having completed ten rounds of competition and 20 races in nine different countries, including Malaysia.