PORTUGAL PROVIDES NEW CHALLENGE FOR TEAM The A1GP series has arrived at its next stop on the calendar with the Vodafone A1GP Portugal event taking place at the impressive new race track facility near Portimao. Aaron Lim was the first of the...
PORTUGAL PROVIDES NEW CHALLENGE FOR TEAM
The A1GP series has arrived at its next stop on the calendar with the Vodafone A1GP Portugal event taking place at the impressive new race track facility near Portimao.
Aaron Lim was the first of the two A1 Team Malaysia drivers to sample the circuit, clocking the eighth quickest time of the rookie and developing nation drivers. Fairuz Fauzy took over the team's car in the afternoon, posting 15th fastest lap time.
The morning session was used by the team to prepare for the weekend. Lim was given a few laps to learn the circuit, having walked round it yesterday with the team's engineers in preparation for today's running.
Lim was quickly on the pace and lapping comfortably in the top ten, although with the session regularly interrupted with red flag stoppages as drivers learnt their limits, it was tough for Lim to find a rhythm. He said of the track, "I loved the track, although it wasn't an easy track to learn. There as so many different types of corner with lots of hills and changes in direction and gradient as well as the blind corners, it all adds up to a very special circuit. I would have loved to have more time on this track."
A1 Team Malaysia used the break between the morning and afternoon practice sessions to prepare the car for Fauzy with a number of necessary adjustments including pedal position and the seat, which is unique to each driver.
Fauzy made the most of the afternoon to put in long runs, learn the track layout and understand the circuit configurations. He said at the end of his session, "It was a good session today. I don't think I've been to a track with such changes in gradient; it's very unique. It's a big challenge as the setup of the car is so critical. On most tracks the setup of the car is for camber, not for the gradients.
"I need to adjust my driving style and adapt to the different type of track, but I really enjoyed it. We'll be able to make some improvements tomorrow. In tomorrow's final practice we can make the progress we need to make."
Jack Cunningham, Chief Executive A1 Team Malaysia, said of the team's practice sessions, "Aaron continued to show us that he can cope with the challenges presented to him. This new track isn't easy for a driver to learn and to master. In the little time he had on track he gave the team excellent feedback and worked well with the engineers. Fairuz also had a good session and started to work with the engineers on set up developments. There's a strong field of drivers this weekend, so the times are very competitive. We'll be looking for improvements tomorrow."
Fauzy will return to the car for the final practice session tomorrow morning. Saturday afternoon qualifying will set the grid for the two races on Sunday.