A1 Team Lebanon first top three qualifying spot in Malaysia

22.11.2008: A1 Team Lebanon first top three qualifying spot in Malaysia

After over three years A1 Team Lebanon has finally scored its first top three qualifying spot, a fantastic achievement by the team’s new young driver for this season, Daniel Morad. This success came after a weekend of struggles for the team, so was definitely a special moment to celebrate. Morad’s third quickest lap in Feature race qualifying puts him on the second row of the grid and in a strong position for a podium finish.

The earlier Sprint race qualifying produced an 18th place start. A1Team Lebanon was struggling to keep their cool in the heat of the Malaysian sun earlier today with a recurrence of fuel pressure problems experienced at the last event returning in morning practice. The frustrations of the team and driver were clear to see as they battled to sort out the problems caused by a faulty ECU, a supplied control part.

Exceptional efforts by the highly professional Lebanese crew gave Morad a fighting chance to put in a handful of laps at the end of the session and their efforts were repaid with tenth fastest time. However, everyone in the team was acutely aware of the work ahead for a strong qualifying result. This afternoon’s qualifying featured a format change, with each team being allowed to use PowerBoost over a complete lap for one of the four runs, a rule revision that was to introduce plenty of excitement to the session. A few teams elected to use this for the Sprint race qualifying, with the majority choosing to benefit from the additional power for the Feature race runs.

The start of the qualifying session featured plenty of drama for many of the nations. A red flag in the middle of the session forced all but two nations to take to the track at the same time. A stream of cars passed the green flag with seconds to spare, with Morad in the thick of the pack.

A clear track was impossible but the Team Lebanon driver put in a solid lap, then headed out for his second run where he improved his lap time to line up 18th for the Sprint race, saving his PowerBoost for the Feature race qualifying. These efforts, however, were overshadowed by the Feature race qualifying.

With less than five minutes of the third run remaining all but one of the teams stayed in their garage, with everyone playing a waiting game and looking for track advantage. But it was in the final run that A1 Team Lebanon brought everything together to secure an unprecedented third quickest lap

Daniel Morad said, "It’s been a tough situation this weekend as we’ve had so many problems that we haven’t really had much running in the practice sessions and we really just had four laps to get it together. By the last stint in qualifying we had the car nailed down and nearly perfect. I used the PowerBoost in the last segment, and although I struggled in the Sprint race qualifying I think we made up for it in the Feature race. No matter where I am in the Sprint race with the pitstops and the possibility of rain, anything is possible

Billy Karam, said after qualifying, "Daniel really pulled one out of the bag this afternoon, a great result for Lebanon and the Arab team, we’re delighted to have finally secured a top three starting spot. I know the team has not had the best start this weekend and have been on the back foot, but all that is behind them now and we look forward to the potential for more points."

Luke Craft, Team Principal, A1 Team Lebanon, added, "We’ve been up against a number of problems which have been outside of our control and, along with many other teams up and down the pitlane, we’ve had to concentrate on making sure the car was running reliably rather than performance gain. We hope that this is now in the past, Daniel has proved himself to be a real talent in the most difficult circumstances and we’re now keen to translate his superb qualifying effort into a points finish.

Can we reach the podium? Anything is possible, but A1GP is highly competitive, there’s many variables including very unpredictable Malaysian weather, but one thing is for sure that’s certainly our goal."

A1 Team Lebanon will be ready to race in front of the Malaysian crowd tomorrow, carrying the pride of its nation.

 

 

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

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/a1-team-lebanon-malaysia-daniel-morad-billy-karam-luke-craft---47701.html

22.11.2008 /

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