Picture by A1GP.com
The A1 GP World Cup of Motorsports is in town this weekend for the 2008/09 season’s 3rd round at the Sepang F1 Circuit!
This time round, local fans have a whole new reason to be proud of the A1 Team Malaysia, as the national team arrived at Sepang as leaders of the championship after strong performances in Netherlands and China bagging a total of 28 points.
Their closest rivals; A1 Team Ireland, and A1 Team France are 5 points adrift, both with 23 points each. This doesn’t really come as a surprise as Team Malaysia has been producing rather respectable results since the sport debuted three seasons ago.
This weekend’s event kick started with two main sessions; a rookie session and an Official Practice session. Son of Alain Prost; legendary 4 time F1 championship winner; Nicolas Prost of Team France topped the time sheets for the rookie session with a time of 1’50.679. Great Britain’s Danny Watts was about four tenths of second slower with 1’51.096 while Earl Bamber of New Zealand settled in third with 1’51.240. Leader Team Malaysia took the fourth spot with Aaron Lim steering the 600 hbp Ferrari supplied A1 racer, setting 1’51.815, about six tenths down on Bamber’s fastest time.
The afternoon Official Practice session saw Team Great Briton leading the time sheets with Danny Watts going about a second faster than his rookie session’s best time, lapping 1’50.038 after completing 13 laps. Switzerland’s Neel Jani ended today’s final session after completing 9 laps only in second with a time of 1’50.110. Former F1 driver Narain Karthikeyen of Team India posted the third fastest time with 1’50.187.
Team Malaysia’s Fairuz Fauzy; Sprint race winner at Zantvoort, Netherlands only managed to set 1’50.620, forcing him to settle for tenth position. The time set by Fauzy meant that there was high tension competition among the top ten drivers as all were just within 0.582 of Great Briton’s hot lap.
“I’m quite pleased with our performance this morning; it didn’t take me long to get back on the pace after my first run in Chengdu. I didn’t expect to be so quick this morning and I really enjoyed driving the new car at this track not only because it is my home track, but also because it is the type of track that suits the new A1GP car. It’s good to help the team and share my experience so that A1 Team Malaysia can be highly competitive,” said A1 Team Malaysia rookie Aaron Lim.
Slowest time of the day was set by Satrio Hermanto of Team Indonesia with 1’52.406, as Jin-Woo Hwang of Team Korea failed to put a lap down.
We will bring you updates for tomorrow’s 3rd Official Practice and Qualifying results for both Sprint and Feature races. Weather wise, the forecast is a bit on the wet side with thunderstorms expected in the afternoon. Rain and thunderstorms are also expected on Sunday morning and afternoon respectively.
Story by Harvinder Singh Sidhu
PHOTO GALLERY: 2008/09 A1 GP at Sepang Friday November 21 2008
Photos by A1GP.com – click thumbnails to view high res photo