Team Malaysia will be heading to the opening round of the new A1GP campaign on a high, after leaving the pre-season Silverstone test with the honour of fastest lap.

The time was set by Super Nova GP2 ace Fairuz Fauzy on the first day of the test and remained unbeaten for its remainder, despite the best efforts of France, Germany and Britain. After claiming a surprise fifth in A1GP's inaugural year from 2005-06 with victory in the final race at Shanghai, Team Malaysia will now approach the first race at Zandvoort in the Netherlands on 1 October with renewed confidence and the determination to do even better still.

Speaking after the test, Fauzy said: "I'm very pleased to have been the quickest driver of the 20 teams testing. We weren't concentrating on this really, but when you're testing a car and looking at the different areas to improve the performance, for it to come together like that and be quickest is very rewarding. It's a strong start for us as we head to the first race."

Ex-Formula One driver Alex Yoong, who is likely to partner Fauzy in the squad over the coming season, added: "It was a good two days of testing. We had an intensive programme which we worked through, and although it wasn't about doing quick lap times the bonus for us was that Fairuz was quickest putting us at the top of the timesheets. I enjoyed being back in a single-seater car again, especially as we were all here representing our country."

Aside from preparing and developing the car, the team also used the opportunity to give young Malaysians Aaron Lim and Nik Iruwan their first taste of the powerful A1GP machinery, demonstrating the country's commitment to nurturing potential stars of the future.

"It was a brilliant experience," Iruwan enthused. "I've never driven anything as fast as the A1 car.

"First of all I had to learn the track and understand the car which I did in the first few laps, then as I settled in I was able to pick up the speed. The power, steering and braking were the biggest differences between the cars I've been driving and this one. I hope I will be able to compete with the team when I have the experience."

Lim echoed Iruwan's sentiments, adding: "It was an amazing day. The team really looked after us and helped us to prepare for our turn in the car.

"We watched, listened and learned from being here, and really admired the strong teamwork within A1 Team Malaysia. I really enjoyed driving the car; it was very powerful and quick through the corners. I've never experienced such a fast car. My sights are now firmly set on being able to represent my country in the A1GP series."

Team Malaysia chief executive Jack Cunningham was pleased with the way the test went, and hoped it would be the precursor to a successful second season in the series.

"We finished the first season with a victory at the final race event in Shanghai and we've now returned to the track and proved to be the quickest team," he said. "We couldn't have had a better start to the second year of competition."

 

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