The heat is on for A1 Team Lebanon

The heat is on for A1 Team Lebanon

20.11.2007: The heat is on for A1 Team Lebanon

One of the hottest A1GP weekend’s kicks off this Friday with the Malaysian round of the 2007/08 season of the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport taking place at Sepang International Circuit, Kuala Lumpur. With temperatures set to reach 40ºC and humidity at 85%, this event is a true test of driver, car and A1 Team Lebanon crew.

Chris Alajajian will represent Lebanon for this third round meeting, as the A1GP Series moves from Europe to Asia, travelling around the globe showcasing this unique brand of racing which pits nation against nation. The Lebanese team is one of 22 nations competing for national pride in ten events through the winter months. The Sepang circuit is popular with many drivers, as one of only two rounds held at Formula One circuits.

This impressive, state of the art facility, is a long, wide track with extensive run offs which encourages overtaking and close racing. Alajajian will be visiting the track for the first time and says, "Driving with A1 Team Lebanon is a real privilege anyway, but having the chance to race at a Formula one circuit makes it extra special. Khalil drove in Brno so I’ve been out of the A1GP car for a while and looking forward to getting back in it.

It will only be my second race weekend with the team, so we’re still developing together, but I hope that as this is not a completely new experience now, we can make further progress. My first race weekend at Zandvoort I had the A1GP qualifying format which was a different style than I’m used to, as well as the rolling start for the Sprint race and two pitstops in the Feature race.

Now I’m familiar with all this, and as much as you can be prepared for new situations like that, there’s nothing like experiencing it. I feel much more comfortable as we head into this weekend, and I’ll certainly be doing my best for Lebanon."

Sepang is a very distinctive circuit and the facilities set it apart as one of the most attractive motor racing settings. It’s a futuristic blend of stainless steel and glass-fronted buildings and an impressive double-sided main grandstand capable of seating 50,000 spectators. The track was specifically designed to encouraging overtaking being wide and having four slow corners following long straights.

The main circuit, normally raced in a clockwise direction, is 5.54 kilometres long, and is noted for its sweeping corners and wide straights. The layout is quite unusual, with a very long back straight separated from the pit straight by just one very tight hairpin. Khalil Beschir, although not racing at the event, will be on hand with the team as reserve driver for this weekend. Both drivers have been in Malaysia for a few days to acclimatise to the weather and took a trip to Borneo to experience the work of an animal sanctuary involved in the conservation of the native Orang Utans which are in danger of extinction.

The team adopted one of the young Orangutans, and participated in the sanctuary’s ‘Plant a Tree scheme to support their efforts. The adoption will contribute to the sanctuary’s costs of running the home for abandoned young animals, an endangered species. The planting of a Langsat fruit tree is to sustain the animals, providing them with a continuing source of food and regenerating their environments.

Beschir and Alajajian will also be giving hot laps to local media at the Proton test track and canoeing on Putrajaya Lake as part of the publicity activities in the build up to the race weekend.

 

- Alison Hill -  photo A1GP

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20.11.2007 / MaP

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