The Malaysian and Lebanese franchises have both greeted the recently-revealed A1 Grand Prix schedule for 2007-08 with satisfaction as they gear up for a third year of competition.

The Malaysians are particularly pleased to see that they will be returning for a 'home' race at Sepang, while the Lebanese have welcomed the chance to again race in several regions with strong Arab populations during the eight-month season.

The calendar consolidates the schedule of eleven race weekends staged last season, with the field returning to each of the venues that hosted A1GP in 2006-07 with the exception of Beijing, after the street race experiment failed to come off. The second Chinese event thus moves to Zhuhai for 2007-08.

The Malaysian round will be the fourth event, following on from two European openers at Zandvoort and Brno and an as yet undesignated Asian venue, and chief executive of the national team, Jack Cunningham, reckons that the return is good for the country.

"We're delighted that A1GP has selected Malaysia as one of the nations represented on the global calendar," he said, "There is high demand by nations to be a host for these events, so it is a testament to the Malaysian circuit and the event organisers that they have retained a slot on the calendar. We will be very proud to run at our home event again.

"It's a well balanced calendar. Over the course of the first two seasons, there has been a steep learning curve for A1GP and the teams, so it is good to be able to have a firm structure with knowledge of the tracks and the facilities, so that we can focus on giving our fans the best motorsport entertainment that we can.

"A1 Team Malaysia is working hard to be ready for the new season and we're looking forward to building on our success. We've established ourselves as one of the front running teams and we aim to continue the momentum from the previous two seasons and make further progress in our aims to lift the World Cup of Motorsport trophy and bring it back to Sepang, the home of Malaysian motorsport."

Team Lebanon, meanwhile, welcomed the calendar for different reasons, a permanent home for motorsport yet to be established in the country. Instead, the Lebanese team will continue to represent the Middle East and the wider Arab world in front of millions of television viewers at each race weekend, as well as in those countries with heavy Arab populations, such as Australia, South Africa and the UK.

"This winter tour of motor racing gives Lebanon the opportunity to promote itself on a global platform, in the highly competitive and wide-reaching A1GP Series," seat holder Tameem Auchi said, "We're one of the smallest countries represented, we do not have the depth of motorsport heritage that many other nations have, but each weekend we race with pride for all the Arabs around the world."

 

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