Al Team Malaysia were one of the big losers in Beijing after qualifying for the third round of the A1GP season was cancelled in the Chinese capital.

Track action on Saturday was brought to a close after just 25 minutes of the scheduled 90 minute practice session due to a loose manhole cover, with qualifying cancelled as a result to allow track workers to ensure that all the covers around the circuit are firmly fixed in place ahead of race day.

Also suffering from mechanical problems, Alex Yoong was limited to just ten laps during the shortened session and was only able to post the 16th quickest time - with practice times being used to determine the starting order for the sprint race on Sunday.

"I'm disappointed that we haven't had the chance to run properly at this track but we understand the difficulties being faced here," he said. "For A1 Team Malaysia this situation has been made worse, as I not only had gearbox issues in the time I was on track, but also rear roll bar problems. We didn't have a chance to put in a competitive lap, and our 15th place grid position is not reflective of our capabilities.

"This narrow track has very limited opportunity for overtaking, so with this starting place we can't be too optimistic for tomorrow. It will probably hurt our championship standings but our goal will be to take as many points as possible away with us from China."

A1 Team Malaysia chief executive Jack Cunningham was as disappointed as his driver with how the day had evolved, with the race winners having expected to line-up near the front of the field on a circuit where qualifying will be far from easy.

"A1GP has been breaking new ground from the time of conception, and with this inaugural event there have been a few teething problems," he said. "With the addition of Fairuz [Fauzy] to the team this weekend, we had expected to be able to show our real capabilities. That's not been possible because of the circumstances. Never mind.

"We ran only ten laps and Alex had just begun to push when he had a spin caused by a fault in the roll bar. When he came in, he said that he thought the gearbox was shifting more than 1 gear at a time. Whilst the roll bar was sorted, the mechanics looked at the gearbox and found a pawl on a gear part cracked and a part broken. During the stop the session was red flagged and was not started again, hence our ten laps.

"Had Alex run the same as the other drivers, we can reasonably assume he would have been close to their times or better. So we are nowhere near where we had hoped to be. But that's the way it goes sometimes and we are certainly not going to worry about it now. We're now looking at managing our affairs, and being realistic about our chances tomorrow. I would add that in any street race, near anything can happen. So let's see where we are tomorrow."

 

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