Malaysia missed out on a dream double in the most recent round of A1GP in Mexico City last weekend, with a poor start caused by a problem in the feature race costing Alex Yoong any hope of a dual celebration.

After a seamlessly commanding performance in both qualifying and the shorter sprint, with the former grand prix star quite literally leaving the rest of the field trailing in his wheeltracks as he sped to a lights-to-flag triumph, a damaged crash box threatened to derail the team's chances in the main feature event before it had even got going.

Following problems jacking the car up on the grid prior to the formation lap, Yoong was very slow to pick up speed as the lights went out and exited the first corner down in seventh, a loss of a staggering six places on his pole position. The 30-year-old had regained one of the lost positions by the time the pit-stops came round, but further jack issues saw more precious time slip away. An eventual fifth place, with Portugal and New Zealand snapping at his heels, at least ensured the Malaysian squad came away from the weekend with a solid points haul and having leapfrogged rivals Switzerland and the Netherlands in the nations' title chase with two rounds remaining.

"For the sprint race, it was great to be out in front," Yoong acknowledged after taking his third victory of A1GP's sophomore campaign. "That's such an advantage, especially with the incidents that happened behind me. We had new tyres left over from qualifying, so we were able to control the race from the front and it was fairly straightforward.

"However, we knew we had a big understeer problem with the car. We thought we might have a problem in the feature race with a heavy fuel tank, and we did. We just didn't have the pace for it in the end. I had to defend hard, but there was no way I was going to let them through and I'm happy with fifth.

"As for the start, I don't know what happened. I was very easy on the clutch, but it just wouldn't go; it was a bit of a disaster. We also lost time in the pits after our grid problems, but overall it was a good weekend, and taking fifth back in the championship is the right reward for the team."

A1 Team Malaysia chief executive Jack Cunningham was also pleased with the outcome of the weekend, and was quick to praise his driver's performance.

"It was a great weekend for Team Malaysia," Cunningham enthused, "and I'm delighted that all the hard work of the team has been repaid with a superb victory and a well-deserved fifth place. It's taken a few weekends of racing for us to regain our form, but we're back in the hunt now. We were up there all weekend and showed that we're winners and can battle for every point.

"I'd like to thank everyone in Team Malaysia for their efforts at the weekend. It's our teamwork that gets us to the front and we never underestimate the role that everyone plays in reaching our goals. Alex drove with great confidence and determination and I commend him on his performance; it was first class."



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