The fifth round of the season takes the A1GP series to the Far East and the colourful Sepang region of Malaysia, just south of the country's capital Kuala Lumpur. Following the enormous accident in Eastern Creek in Australia two weeks ago where...
The fifth round of the season takes the A1GP series to the Far East and the colourful Sepang region of Malaysia, just south of the country's capital Kuala Lumpur. Following the enormous accident in Eastern Creek in Australia two weeks ago where the 21 year old Japanese driver Hayanari Shimoda totally destroyed his car after rolling several times and hitting a wall, Hayanari has been granted permission to race again. Last weekend, Hayanari finished his Le Mans Endurance season in Istanbul at the final round of the Series only two points off the title and arrives in Malaysia with a new A1GP chassis raring to go.
The Sepang circuit is a state of the art, purpose built facility, which provides good overtaking opportunities and should provide some thrilling racing action. The track's technically challenging nature combined with the anticipated extreme weather conditions will test the A1GP cars, drivers and teams to the limit.
I have very good memories of Malaysia. I had my debut race in the Japan GT series here and I even got a point that weekend. It is an exceptional race circuit, particularly because of the area's high temperatures and high humidity which makes it a tremendous challenge for the drivers and on the cars' cooling, brakes and tyre temperature.
I have fully recovered from the accident in Australia and to be honest I don't remember everything from the accident, but I do know that I had oversteer which caused me to go off the track. The next thing I remember was being upside down with gravel all around me. Obviously I hit the wall and came to a stop and then my next recollection was of being surrounded by many people. I was rather sore for two days after, and the one part that hurt most was on the shoulders where the HANS device is located. Luckily all this soon went away and I am now feeling hundred per cent fit. I haven't seen the accident and don't want to as I don't think it will benefit me at all.
Malcolm Swetnam: (Team Manager, A1 Japan):
Hayanari quite frankly gave the whole team a shock in Australia and to see him fit and well here in Malaysia is fantastic. We have also been very touched by the interest and messages of support that we received from the other participants in the A1GP series. Up to the point of the accident, everything had gone well and everyone was more than satisfied with Hayanari's performance considering that he had never driven the car before, and had not been in a single seater for quite some time before the Australian weekend. Unfortunately accidents happen and Hayanari is extremely lucky to have escaped unhurt and we are very pleased to see him here in Sepang.
The circuit here in Malaysia is a challenging, high downforce circuit for the drivers with plenty of direction changes through medium to high speed corners. Overtaking is also possible in a couple of places around the track which should make for two interesting races on Sunday. It's also the first really hot place we have visited with the A1 car and many of the drivers are not used to the temperatures so hopefully with Hayanari having done a race here before, we should have a small advantage. It's going to be a difficult weekend but we are still looking forward to it.