BEST PERFORMANCE OF SEASON FOR A1 TEAM MALAYSIA A1 Team Malaysia captured fifth place in the Feature race and ninth position in the Sprint race at the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport, Durban, South Africa today. Fairuz Fauzy and the Malaysian team...
BEST PERFORMANCE OF SEASON FOR A1 TEAM MALAYSIA
A1 Team Malaysia captured fifth place in the Feature race and ninth position in the Sprint race at the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport, Durban, South Africa today. Fairuz Fauzy and the Malaysian team survived two races, full of crashes and racing action to record their best performance of the season so far.
The Sprint race rolling start was a dash to the first corner, a tight hairpin, with the Malaysian car in the thick of the pack. Third and fourth placed nations, New Zealand and Great Britain, clashed on the first corner, with New Zealand losing its nosecone. Malaysia lost out having been on the outside line and having being held up by the incident. After negotiating the hairpin, Fauzy was lying in 11th place. With little room for overtaking he held position until Brazil had to pit for a new nosecone after another incident and Malaysia moved into a points finish position. The field of cars all held their places until the end, which was red flagged after Netherlands and Germany crashed out. Malaysia finished tenth on track, and was then elevated to ninth taking two points for their efforts after the German team was excluded from the results for causing the crash.
The scene was set for an exciting and dramatic main Feature race with Fauzy lining up in 12th for the standing start. The lights went out and the field of 22 nations headed down to the tight hairpin. Malaysia negotiated it cleanly to lie 11th but behind him there were a number of cars tripping over each other, bringing out the first safety car. After the cars had been cleared from this incident the racing resumed, but on the restart there was a similar incident. Fauzy avoided the stricken cars but a second safety car came out again and the field lined up behind it until the track was cleared. From seventh the team then came in for their first pitstop and slick work returned the Malaysian car to the track in this position.
As the race went to mid-distance the team maintained position. The narrow track provided very few opportunities for overtaking. The second mandatory stop saw the Malaysian pit crew carry out a smooth, quick tyre change and Fauzy was quickly back out on track. Passing Portugal with 12 laps to go, Fauzy was lying in sixth place. Just a few laps later two clashes, one between Canada and Great Britain, the other featuring Italy, Brazil and New Zealand brought out another safety car, but with the cars unmoveable, the race was red flagged with Malaysia finishing fifth and collecting valuable and well deserved points.
Fauzy said of the races, "It was our goal to be in the top ten and so a top five is a bonus. The team did well, particularly in the pitstops. You need to be intelligent for this type of track, with the many incidents around you and the ever present tyre wear. It's been a good weekend, finishing both races in the points. There is not a scratch on the car. The team gave me a great car, which gave me the confidence to push hard, I'm very happy with the results."
Jack Cunningham, Chief Executive, A1 Team Malaysia, added, "We've had two points finishes today and as we had hoped this included a top five. The whole team worked hard for these and Fauzy did his job well driving totally to team orders, particularly in the Feature race where there were so many incidents to avoid, which adds to the pressure. It is one of the toughest races on the calendar with the level of concentration demanded and the physical brutality of the track, so we're proud to have been one of the top performing teams this weekend. Our results today are fundamentally down to team work, team strategy, one excellent pitstop and an extremely good one."
The A1GP Series will return to race action next month with the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport, Mexico City, which will be held from 14-16 March. The event will take place at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez Circuit, a 4.42 kilometre track close to the capital city of this South American nation. Previously used by Formula One, the circuit has recently featured as a round in CART, Champ Car and NASCAR