A1 France Malaysia: Almost like home

A1 Team France is in Malaysia this week for the third round of the 2008-09 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport season. The team already has a couple of rostrum finishes including a victory to its name this season, and is determined to use this weekend’s 2 races to take the lead. At present, A1 Team France shares third place (23 points) with Ireland while the leader Malaysia is only 5 points in front.

Tomorrow, Loïc Duval will be back as the designated driver, while Nicolas Prost will do the early runs on Friday morning.

The Sepang circuit measures 5.540 kms and offers several overtaking opportunities. It has 2 long straights and long curves under load as well as a very tight hairpin, and its asphalt provides good grip. These difficulties allied to the heat and humidity are a tough test of the talents of both drivers and engineers. Sepang has hosted F1 since 1999 and A1GP since its creation in 2004.

Since the start of the 2008-09 championship 4 different countries have won one of the four rounds held so far. The stakes will probably be higher than usual this weekend. Since the first year of the championship the country that has won the Feature race in Malaysia has been crowned champion at the end of the season. A1 Team France is tackling this challenge in an up-beat frame of mind. In Malaysia, the team has scored 5 rostrum finishes and no other competitor on the grid has done better. Sepang is almost like a second home race for A1 Team France!

Olivier Panis: “We’ve always done well here in Malaysia, and the level of competitiveness we’ve shown since the first race of the 2008-09 championship leads us to believe that it’ll be the same this year. Loïc is very motivated at the thought of driving the car in dry conditions for the first time. Let’s hope that the local climate doesn’t have other ideas! The team hasn’t changed its approach ain the slightest; it’s still as fully concentrated, motivated and involved as always. Provided we don’t make any mistakes we should come away on Sunday with a bagful of points.”

Loïc Duval: “I’m champing at the bit to get back into this exceptional car, which unfortunately I’ve only driven in wet conditions at Zandvoort. I’m sure that Nicolas and the team improved the set-up in China two weeks ago. We’ve been very quick in each round this season, and our aim will be to fight at the front from tomorrow onwards.”