A1 Team France took part in the 2 races (Sprint and Feature) on the Sepang circuit in Malaysia, the third round of the 2008-09 A1 World Cup of Motorsport Championship. Loïc Duval, who was in second spot for the Sprint race, finished in the same position despite a minor scare when he lost a place due to his pit stop, which he managed to make up out on the track.
Unfortunately, the Feature race ended in disappointment. Loïc was ninth on the grid and after a lap he was up to eighth. A few laps later he was hit by the British car, which caused a puncture. He crawled back to his pit and then had to stop again putting paid to his chances of a rostrum finish. He drove his heart out after that and showed real speed. Fourteenth was a meagre reward for his efforts - so no points scored.
This evening A1 Team France is in third place in the championship and is all fired up to begin its climb back to the front in the next round on the Taupo circuit in New Zealand on 23rd-25th January 2009.
Olivier Panis, sporting director: “The result of the first race was in keeping with our expectations, and it gave us the provisional lead in the championship. We tackled the next round in an optimistic frame of mind. Our hopes were dashed when Loïc tagged Great Britain, which was not his fault. It’s very frustrating as we were in front of the United States at that moment and the American team finished on the rostrum. But we’ve got to look on the bright side despite everything. Once again, we were the quickest on the track and our competitiveness will pay off in the end.”
Loïc Duval, driver: “The A1GP regulations are designed to provide on-track excitement, so sometimes it’s rather frustrating for a driver to start from far back on the grid when your pace should enable you to go for pole. This being said, the situation is the same for everybody, and it’s up to us to get round the problems this poses. Once again this weekend we showed that our performance is good enough to make us title contenders. In four races I’ve had three rostrum finishes so I’m not far from the top of the championship!”