Malaysia's state of the art Grand Prix track at Sepang, Kuala Lumpur, is set to host the fourth round of the 2006/07 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport this weekend, when Ireland's team will be aiming for a reversal of fortunes after a tough start to the season.

The team qualified third for last year's A1GP event in Malaysia with former Jordan Grand Prix driver Ralph Firman, so the Irish team has excellent experience and technical data from the Hermann Tilke designed 5.5km circuit which current driver Michael Devaney and reserve driver John O'Hara hop to make the most of.

The focus for the team this weekend is to establish whether the chassis problems which plagued its first two events this season have been cured, the third round in Beijing providing little opportunity for the drivers and technicians to establish its pace.

"It's been a very tough start to the season but we know the reasons, there's no point in looking back and it's good that we're going to a track which the team knows and will show us where we are in relation to the others," said Devaney. "The track is very wide with lots of changes of direction and some long straights. The racing will be close, but we know the set up that worked last year and it's good to have that as a starting point."

For O'Hara the curtailed Rookie Practice Session in Beijing two weeks ago allowed him little track time, so he is looking forward to a full run this Friday. "I think this weekend is where our season will really start and I am looking forward to learning this track because it's one of the new breed of high spec Formula One facilities. Everyone in the team is determined to get the season going at last - we just need a clear weekend."

A1 Team Ireland owner Mark Kershaw is clear about the reasons for the team's difficult start to the season and confident of its ability to re -establish its position as a contender for points at every race.

"With the chassis problem really compromising our first two races before we managed to secure A1GP and Lola's support in pinpointing the issues our first proper crack at a result should have been in Beijing yet we then had relatively little track time and our races ended with the kinds of accident that are pretty common on tight, bumpy street tracks. In Malaysia we have good information about the direction to go with the set-up so the team and drivers just have to push as hard as possible and make the headway we deserve. It would be good to see this weekend as the turning point in our season."

Joining the team in Malaysia will be Northern Ireland's Richard Lyons, the former Japanese Formula Nippon Champion and current Nissan Super GT driver attending the race to offer advice to both Devaney and O'Hara. Lyons qualified on pole position on his last visit to the Malaysian track in Formula Nippon in 2005 and has been on the podium there in Super GT - so his vast experience of the circuit should prove useful in guiding Ireland's A1GP line-up.

 

Comments

Loading Comments...