MALAYSIA TOP OF THE ASIA PACIFIC TEAMS With two rounds remaining in the 2008/09 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport A1 Team Malaysia is riding high in the standings, not only lying sixth overall, but also beating all the other Asia Pacific ...
MALAYSIA TOP OF THE ASIA PACIFIC TEAMS
With two rounds remaining in the 2008/09 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport A1 Team Malaysia is riding high in the standings, not only lying sixth overall, but also beating all the other Asia Pacific nations.
Eight nations from the region compete in the A1GP Series and although New Zealand has traditionally taken top honours in the unofficial Asia Pacific points standings, this season it is Malaysia that has been the team to beat. However with New Zealand only seven points adrift of Malaysia the fight is set to go to the wire.
Malaysia's Asia Pacific region rival nations boasts some of the most sophisticated racing facilities such as the Shanghai circuit, fields some of the strongest driver line ups, for example, New Zealand's Earl Bamber, who scored podium finishes in his first outing with the team at Zandvoort last year. India's Narain Karthikeyan, a former F1 driver, is also tough competition, while Australia has a long history of racing success, exemplified by seat holder and former F1 World Champion, Alan Jones.
Jack Cunningham, Chief Executive, A1 Team Malaysia, says of the inter-nation rivalry, "We know that there is not an official Asia Pacific points table, but naturally we're always keen to be top in our region. It's particularly satisfying to be above New Zealand in the standings as they've beaten us every season so far. With four races still to come it is not a foregone conclusion that we'll stay above our close rivals, but we'll give it our best shot."
The overall points standings has three distinct groups at the top. Three teams are in the running for the A1GP title, with Switzerland, Ireland and Portugal separated by only six points. Netherlands lying fourth has an outside chance of title honours while France, Malaysia, New Zealand and Australia are battling for fifth place in the 2008/09 Series.
Cunningham says of the title fight, "We're in quite a vulnerable position in the overall standings. Although with a clutch of points in the last two events we could overhaul France, who are ahead of us by three points, we also have New Zealand seven points behind and Australia 13 points adrift of us. I don't think we're able to predict the outcome of this battle, but one thing is certain -- it will be very exciting."
A1 Team Malaysia returns home from the Algarve, Portugal, event that was held at the weekend, where the team celebrated its third podium finish in the Feature race after finishing eighth in the morning Sprint race.