Team Germany is bidding to reclaim its championship advantage as the World Cup of Motorsport heads into its fourth round of the season in Malaysia this weekend, after a gearbox failure last time out in Beijing dropped the erstwhile pace-setters behind Mexico in the nations' standings.

What made the Chinese retirement all-the-more galling was that up-and-coming young German star Nico Hulkenberg was in the lead of the race with just ten laps to go when the failure occurred, but that has only made the squad even more determined to fight back in Sepang as the series makes the second stop on its Far Eastern adventure.

Hulkenberg began the season with a fourth place and dominant victory at Zandvoort, before following that up with a front row starting slot in the sprint race and stirring drive through the field from 16th to fourth in the feature next time out in Brno. Those results mean although Team Germany may have surrendered its early advantage, it is only two points adrift in the championship chase and ready to hit back with a vengeance.

"It goes without saying that I would have preferred to travel to the fourth race with an eight point advantage instead of trailing by two points," admitted the 2005 Formula BMW Germany champion, for whom the track that hosts the Malaysian Grand Prix will mark new ground.

"I get used to new circuits easily though, and thanks to the excellent team under David Sears I feel very comfortable at all circuits because the engineers always set up the car to my liking. The pit-stops are also fantastic. The chemistry in the team is spot-on since we get on well with each other away from the circuit."

Team principal Willi Weber, meanwhile, is delighted with his outfit's early-season form and hopes it augurs well for a concerted championship challenge after Team Germany could only struggle to a lowly 15th place during A1GP's inaugural campaign in 2005/06.

"Last time out in China we were again fighting for victory, a win which we only lost because of bad luck," he said. "With their excellent performances both Nico and David Sears' race team have been able to continue their excellent run of form. I wish the team every success in its quest to reclaim the championship lead in Malaysia."



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