GOOD POINTS HAUL IN ALGARVE A1 Team Malaysia enjoyed a strong showing in the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport sixth round which took place in Portugal this weekend. Fairuz Fauzy represented his nation and drove well to finish in fourth place in the...
GOOD POINTS HAUL IN ALGARVE
A1 Team Malaysia enjoyed a strong showing in the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport sixth round which took place in Portugal this weekend. Fairuz Fauzy represented his nation and drove well to finish in fourth place in the Feature race having taken eighth in the Sprint race this morning.
The start of the sprint race produced early excitement with New Zealand and Lebanon tangling followed by Germany and Lebanon clashing. Malaysia carefully avoided these two incidents and had made up ground to seventh place. The accidents brought out the safety car.
Fauzy stayed in seventh after the restart, but after pitting for his mandatory tyres change, he emerged in ninth, with the team having lost positions due to a wheel nut problem during the pitstop. As the race headed towards the chequered flag Fauzy stayed in ninth, but with three laps remaining Brazil and South Africa clashed, causing the race to be red flagged. In the final order, with Switzerland having been given a penalty for a pitstop infringement, Malaysia finished eighth, snatching one World Cup of Motorsport point.
Fauzy said after the Sprint race, "The car was good, we had to fight hard for our final position and we had a pitstop that was a little slow. There was drama on the first corner and I managed to avoid it, but later in the race I hit a bump which upset the balance of the car, so that will be looked at before the Feature race. However we added another point and that's important."
The Feature race began with more drama after the pole sitter, Netherlands, had electrical problems on the warm up lap. The field was away cleanly as the red lights went out, with Malaysia defending hard, but losing places on the opening lap. Lying ninth Fauzy settled in to the race, moving up to 8th before the first round of pitstops. Further wheel nut problems resulted in a slow stop which dropped the team two positions, however Fauzy recovered to lie ninth, at which point a clash between South Africa and New Zealand resulted in a safety car period. With these two nations out of the race Malaysia was in seventh place for the restart.
Returning to full speed racing produced a three car accident with Monaco, USA and Italy all out of the race, promoting Malaysia to fourth place with 22 laps remaining. Losing out to a quicker India in the second round of pitstops dropped the team back to fifth place with less than ten laps of the race remaining. However Fauzy fought back on the track, taking back fourth just three laps before the finish and taking the chequered flag in this position.
"The start was quite difficult" says Fauzy. "Although Doornbos (Netherlands) wasn't in his position at the front and there was an empty space where the Brazil car should have been next to me, the cars from behind me shot forward and it was a very busy pack of cars rushing down through the first few corners. There were quite a few incidents and two safety car periods, so it was quite a hectic time out on track, especially with two pitstops as well. The car was very consistent and we were able to run at a good pace, particularly towards the end. I'm pleased we have scored more points for Malaysia".
Jack Cunningham, Chief Executive, A1 Team Malaysia summed up the Algarve weekend saying, "We've had a good weekend here, adding quite a few points and moving up to sixth place in the overall standings. Fairuz and Aaron drove well. The teamwork has been good and we're pleased with an eighth place and a fourth, especially with the competition out here. The grid included three drivers with F1 racing experience and you include F1 test drivers the total is eight, so the competition level is increasing each time we compete. We've raced with these guys and kept up with them and this is very pleasing."
The Series continues in three weeks time with A1GP making its fourth visit to Brands Hatch circuit in the UK, the venue which hosted the first ever A1GP event. This takes place from 1-3 May.