A1 TEAM MALAYSIA DRIVERS HAVE A NEW FAVOURITE CIRCUIT Sepang International Circuit has always been at the top or close to the top in the list of driver's favourite tracks. After A1GP's first visit to Kyalami the Malaysian circuit might have some...
A1 TEAM MALAYSIA DRIVERS HAVE A NEW FAVOURITE CIRCUIT
Sepang International Circuit has always been at the top or close to the top in the list of driver's favourite tracks. After A1GP's first visit to Kyalami the Malaysian circuit might have some competition in the popularity stakes. A1 Team Malaysia recently raced for the first time at the historic Kyalami circuit in Johannesburg, South Africa. The team's drivers, Fairuz Fauzy and Aaron Lim, were two of many drivers to be thrilled by the track and the experience. Both agreed it came a close second to the Malaysian circuit in their list of 'top ten' tracks.
Fauzy explains, "Sepang has always been a firm favourite with many of the A1GP drivers, particularly this season with the new car. It has the speed, flow and rhythm which is perfect for racing, along with first-class amenities and a state-of-the-art facility for spectators. Kyalami proved popular for totally different reasons. It's an historic track, with the venue having been built in 1961.
"As you can imagine, although there have been upgrades and modernisation, the circuit still retains many original features. There's a sense of history here which is quite unique. Coupled with this is that it is a very challenging race track. Unlike Sepang there are a fair amount of undulations which create blind crests and corners -- these are always fun for a driver.
"The two tracks are at the opposite ends of the spectrum of race circuits -- one is old-fashioned and historic, the other is modern and technical, so they vie in different ways for the top spot on any driver's list of favourites. Having just returned from Kyalami the track is fresh in my mind, but I don't think Sepang can ever be overtaken from reigning supreme as my No.1 track!"
A1GP commentator, Ben Edwards noticed how much the drivers enjoyed the South African circuit, saying in his recent A1GP.com blog, "If I've counted up correctly, Kyalami was the 19th circuit that A1GP has visited since it all started at Brands Hatch in 2005, and judging by the reaction of the drivers, it has become an iconic track for a new generation. Every time the pit lane TV reporters asked the question, 'What do you think?' there was a gleam in the eye of the drivers who answered each of whom relished the fast corners, the rapid direction changes and the ups and downs of the Kyalami circuit."
Spare a thought for Malaysia's 'rookie' driver, Aaron Lim. Technical gremlins resulted in the young driver only completing about 5 laps of the Kyalami circuit, giving him just enough time to fall in love with it, but not enough laps to really get up to speed and make the most of his time in the car.
"Sepang is definitely my No.1 track" says Lim, "although I think if I'd had more laps of the South African track I'd be probably be placing Kyalami in second position. I did love the contours and challenge of Kyalami but the superb straights and high speed corners of Sepang will always get my adrenalin pumping."
A1 Team Malaysia will sample another new race track facility next month with A1GP's first visit to the Portuguese Autodromo Internacional do Algarve. Lying close to the coast in the major tourist area of Portugal, the circuit will host its first international single seater event when A1GP arrives there in April.