A1 Team Lebanon suffers mixed fortunes in Malaysia

A1 Team Lebanon suffers mixed fortunes in Malaysia

25.11.2007: A1 Team Lebanon suffers mixed fortunes in Malaysia

A1 Team Lebanon’s third season of A1GP racing continued with two hot, action packed races exciting the crowds in Sepang, Malaysia. A 15th place in the Sprint race was the spoils for the morning. A retirement from the Feature race was a disappointment for the team, after some very strong running which saw driver, Chris Alajajian running as high as 9th before contact with Australia damaged the car and forced him into retirement.

The sprint race began in strong heat with A1 Team Lebanon lining up in 22nd place for the start. In the frenetic start, with the pack of cars powering down to the first corner, Alajajian showed his maturity and racing skills, dicing with the cars around him, positioning himself to advantage and taking two cars in the opening lap to lie 17th. As the race got underway he continued to race hard and with some attacking driving was lapping at a good pace and challenging for 16th place. He tailed the Czech Republic car for a number of laps, before finally overtaking him for position at two-thirds distance.

Having passed his rival Alajajian pulled out a comfortable lead, which he held until the chequered flag. After the race the Netherlands were penalised for a jump start which promoted Lebanon to 15th in the final result. The Feature race grid formed in the afternoon and the Lebanon car lined up ready for the start. The opening lap saw four cars scattering off track in the melee of the run through the first corner, with Lebanon running hard and making up positions, and lying in 13th place at the end of the first lap.

Alajajian had the China car in his sights and with a good pace made a move to overtake. He passed his rival, but a clip from him just after he had passed put the Lebanese car into a spin and back down to 17th place. With action up and down the field, the racing was fast and frenetic, until an incident between South Africa and Canada brought out the safety car, just as the first pit window opened and all the cars were allowed to pit. With the majority of the field opting to stop for new tyres, it was a busy pitlane, and by the time that the race restarted Lebanon were lying in 15th place.

Alajajian continued to run at a strong pace, jostling with a number of cars during which Lebanon was tapped at the rear. He was able to overtake Australia for 14th and then benefited from Italy dropping out to lie in 13th place as the race reached half distance. Pitting from 9th for the second stop, Lebanon were back out on track for the final segment of the race. However, the earlier contact revealed rear suspension damage which forced the Lebanese car into retirement.

Chris Alajajian said after the Feature race, "In this morning’s race our goal was to run consistently and cleanly and push hard without taking too many risks. We accomplished this, but with so few laps it’s always difficult to make up too many places, but I would have liked to have made a bit more progress. In the Feature race we were running well and I was able to challenge for places, so it was a bit unlucky that we couldn’t complete the distance after being hit from behind, but that’s just one of those racing situations."

Luke Craft, Team Principal, A1 Team Lebanon, added, "Chris has driven well and we’ve definitely made progress. It was a shame that we had to retire from a racing incident as we were close to achieving a respectable result, just outside the top ten. We’ve seen a lot of potential this weekend and so if we can pull it all together we should start seeing an improvement in our results."

The A1GP World Cup of Motorsport continues in three weeks time, with the fourth round taking place in Zhuhai, China, from 14-16 December, with A1 Team Lebanon back in action.


- Alison Hill - photos A1GP
More photos on automobilsport.com under PHOTOS - A1GP

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25.11.2007 / MaP

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