WET WEATHER CHALLENGES MALAYSIA IN SYDNEY A1 Team Malaysia leaves the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport event in Sydney, Australia, today with mixed feelings. Although neither of the races produced a top ten finish for Fairuz Fauzy and the Malaysian...
WET WEATHER CHALLENGES MALAYSIA IN SYDNEY
A1 Team Malaysia leaves the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport event in Sydney, Australia, today with mixed feelings. Although neither of the races produced a top ten finish for Fairuz Fauzy and the Malaysian team, a top ten start for the Feature race was welcomed by the team, and an improvement in pace in this long race was evidence of Fauzy building on his experience and return to A1GP racing.
The Sprint race grid formed in the morning with Fauzy lining up in 16th place. The weather was the focus for the team with a sprinkling of rain ahead of the race and black clouds looming close to the Eastern Creek circuit. In the event the rain stayed off for the start and all the teams ran with dry, slick, tyres. The racing was fast and furious as soon as the green flag flew for the rolling start and although Fauzy wasn't able to move forwards, he held position to emerge in 16th at the end of the first lap. The Sprint race was heading for a processional field of cars as the few overtaking places at this circuit limited the drivers' chances to improve. However the rain started which changed the race dramatically.
Malaysia was one of only four teams to change to wet tyres. With a grid slow towards the back and only 14 laps in which to make it into the top ten, it was a calculated risk, but ultimately a gamble that unfortunately didn't pay off. The pitstop cost the team around 25 seconds and dropped Fauzy down to 21st position. Returning to the track the Malaysian car was unable to make enough inroads into the pace of the cars which stayed with dry tyres and by the chequered flag the team had only regained one position to finish in 20th place.
A1 Team Malaysia lined up in tenth place fro the Feature race, following a penalty for Canada after qualifying. As the grid formed the New Zealand car had a problem which relegated him to the back of the grid, and the French car stalled on the formation lap, so that car also started from the back of the pack. This effectively put Fauzy in eighth place as the lights went out and the race was underway. The team had to make a late decision on the car setup, choosing a dry setup in anticipation of the track drying as the race progressed. In the run down to the first corner Malaysia lost out, dropping back to 12th, and then struggling in the conditions, falling down the order to 16th until the first round of pitstops. After these, Fauzy was lying in 19th, and after the second round of stops he improved to 18th.
Fauzy said of his return to A1GP racing, "It has taken me a while to get to grips with the A1GP car, but after these two races I feel much more comfortable in it. It wasn't an easy weekend, particularly with the changing weather. Opting for wet tyres this morning was a gamble we had to take but it was a shame that we lost out with that decision. The last time I drove in the wet in this car was in Estoril over two year ago, so I didn't have much experience that I could use today. Consequently I struggled in the wet this afternoon. The first set of wet tyres improved as the race progressed and I was able to start getting on the pack, but the second set just didn't have the same pace in them. Overall I think we made some progress this weekend, and that's encouraging."
Jack Cunningham, Chief Executive, A1 Team Malaysia, said of the weekend, "We rolled the dice in the Sprint race, but as it turned out, we didn't make the right decision on that occasion and we compromised our opportunity to move into a points finish position. In the Feature race the treacherous conditions were our biggest challenge, however, on his return to racing with A1 Team Malaysia Fairuz has settled in quickly with the team and has coped well in difficult and treacherous circumstances today."
-credit: team malaysia