A TESTING WEEKEND FOR A1 TEAM MALAYSIA Durban, South Africa 29 January 2006 -- A1 Team Malaysia endured a tough day's racing in Durban and were unable to capitalise on the competitive running that the team had enjoyed in practice and qualifying,...
A TESTING WEEKEND FOR A1 TEAM MALAYSIA
Durban, South Africa 29 January 2006 -- A1 Team Malaysia endured a tough day's racing in Durban and were unable to capitalise on the competitive running that the team had enjoyed in practice and qualifying, with retirements from both races for driver Alex Yoong at the A1 Grand Prix of Nations in South Africa today.
The first street race of the A1 Grand Prix calendar certainly proved a crowd-pleaser with an estimated 50,000 spectators experiencing the action-packed racing of this new motor racing Series which pits nation against nation in 11 countries around the globe.
A1 Team Malaysia lined up tenth for the Sprint race after yesterday's 'four flying laps' style of qualifying session. The start was delayed for race officials to improve the catch fencing safety, but when it finally got underway, Team Malaysia's race was short-lived.
On the opening lap Yoong was forced to brake hard behind Team Brasil, making contact with the rear of his car. The accident resulted in the Malaysian car losing its front wing and damaging the nose cone, which left Yoong with no option but to retire immediately from the race.
In the feature race Yoong was at the back of the grid for the start due to his earlier race retirement. After an early pit stop for the mandatory tyre change, Yoong rejoined the race and quickly made his way towards the front of the field, running comfortably within the top ten and at half distance lying seventh. On lap 26 of the 40 lap race, with Yoong racing hard and under pressure from the New Zealand car behind, he braked late at the end of the back straight, sending him into a spin and out of the race.
Yoong said after the two races, "A disappointing weekend for us, particularly with our retirements today. In the Sprint race it was just one of those racing incidents. In the Feature race I reckon I could have finished in fourth place. The guys in my crew have worked so hard this weekend I would have liked to have rewarded them with a good finish, but it just wasn't my day."
Jack Cunningham, A1 Team Malaysia Team Principal added, "This wasn't an easy weekend for us, but that's the nature of motor racing and we just have to put this behind us now. This street race has certainly captured the attention of South Africa and I think A1 Grand Prix put on a great show for the fans. It was exciting racing with plenty of action, but it was a shame we weren't able to go the distance in either race. We have lost a lot of ground in championship points and we will be mindful of that as we arrive in Indonesia in just over a weeks time."
The A1 Grand Prix series will return to race action next month with the A1 Grand Prix of Nations, Indonesia which will be held from 10 -- 12 February. The event takes place at Sentul Circuit, a 3.9 kilometre track with 11 turns and promises to be another weekend of action-packed racing.