A1 GP SERIES - SOMBRERO WEATHER FOR A1 TEAM MALAYSIA IN MEXICO

A1 GP SERIES - SOMBRERO WEATHER FOR A1 TEAM MALAYSIA IN MEXICO

26.02.2006: A1 GP SERIES - SOMBRERO WEATHER FOR A1 TEAM MALAYSIA IN MEXICO



Monterrey, Mexico 25 February 2006

The rain of opening day practice at the A1 Grand Prix of Nations, Mexico, left Monterrey to be replaced with clear blue sky and bright sunshine, giving Proton sponsored A1 Team Malaysia and driver Alex Yoong a chance to experience the handling of the A1 car in the dry. In final practice Yoong posted 17th fastest time and in afternoon qualifying he finished 11th quickest.

Oil laid on the circuit from the support race cars running earlier in the day delayed final practice and also created a dusty track from the clean up operation. Yoong opted to wait in the pits for the first quarter hour leaving others to clear the dust and with previous experience of the circuit he could afford this luxury. His knowledge showed through as he got on the pace quickly and ran comfortably around the top ten for much of the session.

In qualifying Yoong also drove well and showed his talent posting eighth quickest time in the first segment and following this with another quick lap to position him ninth overall. Dropping to 13th place after the third segment, Yoong recovered with a strong fourth qualifying segment to finish 11th quickest.

Yoong reviewed his day saying, "It’s a tough, demanding circuit with high kerbs and big bumps, which makes it a challenge to find the right setup for the car and the changing weather conditions. We weren’t pleased with the car in the morning and made a number of fairly radical changes. Happily, they helped to improve the handling of the car and we were able to improve our performance this afternoon. Even in the last session, though, we were still having trouble getting temperature into the tyres due to the smooth surface of the track. I’m pleased we’re starting just outside the top ten; we have a real shot at getting more points for Malaysia in the Sprint race from there and if we can do this, we’ll be set for a good start position in the main Feature race. But the competition is tough and I don’t underestimate the task ahead tomorrow, particularly with the unpredictable weather we’ve seen so far this weekend."

Jack Cunningham, Team Principal, A1 Team Malaysia adds, "A1 Grand Prix has become more and more competitive as it has progressed through the season. There are now a number of ex-Formula One and IRL or Champ car drivers such as Jos Verstappen, Christian Fittipladi, Tomas Enge, Patrick Freisacher, Ralph Firman, Bryan Herta and Patrick Carpentier, and there are also the up and coming drivers who are doing well in GP2. The competition is growing race by race. Against that background, our task will be more difficult each weekend as the series matures and we will need to respond to that challenge. Our qualifying position is, therefore, all the more gratifying. Alex is proving that he has the talent as a leading driver in the Series and the team is performing well. From 11th we know we can position ourselves well for another good result against this quality field."

The A1 Grand Prix of Nations Mexico culminates tomorrow with two races, a 30 minute Sprint race and a one-hour Feature race. Fans will also be entertained with the colourful pageant of the traditional A1 Grand Prix drivers parade, have an opportunity to obtain their favourite driver’s autograph at the official all-driver autograph session, and to watch the support races which include historic Formula One cars and celebrity drivers.

8TV is the official Malaysian broadcaster of the A1 Grand Prix of Nations series.

- Owen Leed, Team Malaysia -
photo copyright A1 Team Malaysia

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26.02.2006 / MaP

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