A concerted public relations drive attracted strong support for the home team as the A1 Grand Prix series arrived in Malaysia, and Fairuz Fauzy and Alex Yoong did their bit to reward the yellow-bedecked fans packing the grandstand.

Fauzy and Yoong shared driving duties for their home race, with the GP2 regular taking the start for the sprint race and Yoong stepping in for the longer feature. Having started a season-high seventh for the opening event, Fauzy diced confidently in the middle of the pack, avoiding incidents around him and holding position until Ireland managed to pass on the second lap, demoting him to eighth, a position he held until the chequered flag.

"I had a good race out there today, equalling my best result in the series so far," Fauzy commented, "We have a good car, and I think there are a few improvements we can make for Alex. He'll start from eighth, so he'll be towards the front of the grid, which should give us a good start."

Indeed, Yoong was able to gain a position in the scramble to the first corner of the feature race, and later passed the New Zealand car to take fifth. Although a delay in the team's pit-stop pushed the former F1 and Champ Car driver back down to eighth place as the race entered its final stages, Yoong quickly moved back up to seventh and, with only two laps to go, pushed hard to repass the New Zealand car, taking fifth place at the chequered flag.

"It was an exciting race," Yoong said, "I had a really good start, and think I could have been third or fourth if Brazil hadn't stalled in front of me. I had to get right off the throttle, but we were still sixth and looking good.

"I was happy with our race pace today, which meant I could be aggressive with the car and could attack. I overtook New Zealand, but then they got me back in the pit-stop, so I had to overtake them again. I was working hard to close down on Italy, which I was starting to do, but then the rain started and I made a small mistake and ran wide. New Zealand overtook me again, so I had to take them back - which I did on the last lap. All in all, I'm pleased with fifth and think we've shown today that we have the pace to be on the podium. That must be our target from now on.

"The Malaysian fans were fantastic - I could see their reaction each time we passed the grandstands, and it was electrifying. It is appropriate that we thank them all for turning up to give us their support - and this is from every member of A1 Team Malaysia. We are happy that we didn't disappoint them with our performance."

Team principal Jack Cunningham reflected on the showing which had energised the spectators. and lifted Malaysia to sixth in the overall point standings.

"Alex and Fairuz did a superb job for us today," he said, "And, while I would like to congratulate them on their excellent performances, I would especially like to thank the fans of the team who came to Sepang. They have been truly wonderful in their support - I have no doubt that our fifth place was the result of the impact of the fans' constant encouragement of Alex throughout the hour-long race. I hope they realised as they left the circuit how appreciative we were of their encouragement."

 

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