Malaysia team keeping busy

The A1 Team Malaysia crew members are currently enjoying a well-deserved break from A1 Grand Prix competition, but the team’s drivers, Alex Yoong and Fairuz Fauzy, are both racing in Europe during the summer.

Fauzy remains in a single seater, competing in the International GP2 series, which supports the FIA Formula One World Championship while Yoong has opted for a sportscar, joining with A1 Team Netherlands boss, Jan Lammers, to contest the Le Mans Series, which includes the famed 24 hours of Le Mans event.

Fauzy was unable to compete for A1 Team Malaysia at the beginning of 2006 due to his pre-season testing commitments for the GP2 series, although he kept in touch and was delighted with the success that the team enjoyed at the final round of the season in Shanghai, with team mate Yoong bringing the team its first victory and following this up with a second place podium finish. These strong results helped to earn the team fifth place in the overall nations Championship standing.

Yoong had already started his preparations for the summer season before the end of the 2005/06 A1 Grand Prix series. He took part in a full test with his RfH team, driving the Dome Mugen LMP1 sports racing car on the weekend prior to the Shanghai A1 Grand Prix event and the car performed well throughout the test. Team Owner Lammers has entered the spirit of World Cup football by painting the entire car in black and white hexagons, like the panels of a football.

The A1GP duo took part in the first Le Mans series event of the year at the beginning of April, with a race in Istanbul, Turkey. The team posted a strong qualifying performance to start in third place on the grid for the race and started well, lying second behind the eventual winners until, after 62 laps, a broken starter motor forced retirement. Despite the premature end to the race for the team, they were positive for the future, gathering information, learning and developing the car.

Fauzy started his 2006 GP2 campaign in Valencia at the beginning of April for the only stand alone event of the year. He ran 13th fastest in mid-week testing before the event, but software problems with his gear selections hampered his progress and he finished 15th in the first race. In the second race he had better fortune, driving a steady race and moving up five places to finish in 10th place.

The Series moved on to Imola at the end of April for the second event of the Championship, but the young Malaysian driver struggled in these two races. The first race started well, with Fauzy moving up eight places from his start position, but pit stop problems during a safety car period lost him a lap. He pushed hard to try and make up lost ground, but an incident towards the closing stages put him out of the race. In the second race he was proving to be quick enough to hold fastest lap until being pipped at the end by a rival. From a 23rd place start position Fauzy finished 15th, improving eight positions and taking away the knowledge that he has a competitive car, but needs to concentrate on strong qualifying positions which are so important on the European circuits.

Fauzy will return to track action in Nurburgring, Germany, this week whilst Yoong will be competing in the 1000km race at Spa, Belgium next week.