Double Disappointment for A1 Team GBR in Taupo

Double Disappointment for A1 Team GBR in Taupo

20.01.2008: Double Disappointment for A1 Team GBR in Taupo

A1 Team GBR’s Robbie Kerr forced into retirement in both sprint and feature races in Taupo, New Zealand. A1 Team GBR suffered two heartbreaking results today in Taupo, New Zealand, at round five of the 2007/08 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport. In the sprint race Robbie Kerr was hit while trying to overtake A1 Team USA, which forced him off the track and caused his engine to stall.

His feature race then came to a premature end when he pulled into the pits with a technical problem which is currently being investigated. After experiencing some technical problems in qualifying, Robbie began this morning’s 14-lap sprint race from 13th on the grid. He made a very good start, avoided a multiple car collision at the first corner, and moved up five places to eighth by turn two.

Following a brief safety car period, Robbie began to push seventh-placed Jonathan Summerton in the USA car. On lap five the two were side-by-side as Robbie dived down the inside to make the pass. Summerton clipped his front left wheel against Robbie’s rear right. The impact lifted the Team GBR car and sent Robbie off the track, where the engine stalled.

He managed to nurse his car to the pits and run some laps towards the end of the race, but was unable to score points. The team was hoping for better fortunes in the afternoon’s feature race, in which Robbie began from the fifth row of the grid in ninth place. However, prior to the start of the race, there was concern over an apparent technical problem which could not be pinpointed in the limited time.

Robbie moved up to eighth after the standing start and then began to push Team Canada for seventh position. He briefly took the position before Canada snatched it back.

On lap five however, the problems that had worried the team prior to the start proved terminal as the oil temperature increased, causing a loss of power to the car. Robbie pulled into the pits where the team and Zytek, A1GP’s engine supplier, began investigations into the problem, which are still ongoing. Unfortunately, as GBR leaves T

aupo having scored no points in the New Zealand round, the team slips to eighth in the standings on 48 points. However, with the team just one point adrift of seventh-placed Team Netherlands and two points behind Team Ireland, hopes are high for a return to points-scoring ways in two weeks time at Eastern Creek in Australia

Robbie Kerr: Sprint Race: "We made a good, sensible start. I went alongside Switzerland initially but backed down when I saw a couple of cars in front taking a little bit too much speed into the first corner. I pulled the car tight and managed to avoid the carnage in front, and it was obviously great to get up to 8th, as I knew we could move forward from there and score good points.

It took a few laps to get everything warm, and we were then quick again and caught USA. I got the car alongside, the acceleration was good and I managed to pass USA, but then I got hit from behind and the next thing I knew, I was in the air.

The car wouldn’t re-start, but we got it back to the pits, checked it was safe to go back out again, then put in some competitive laps which showed we would have had the pace, so it’s a great shame that it ended the way it did."

Feature Race: "We got a pretty good start, though didn’t capitalise on it completely as the first corner was so tight. But I managed to get past Robbie Wickens (Canada), though the car was sliding around a lot at the back which allowed Canada to pass me, and from that point on we struggled. Something was wrong with the engine and we had to come into the pits and retire."

 

Katie Clements, Team Principal: "It’s been an extremely disappointing day. Robbie did well to avoid the collision at the start of the Sprint race, gained five places, and from then on he was determined to move forward but unfortunately USA shunted us, putting us out of contention.

We’re still looking into the engine problems that caused us to pull out of the Feature race, but hopefully everything will be resolved and GBR will be back racing at the front of the pack in Australia where we belong."

 

Channel Five will broadcast all the highlights from Taupo, New Zealand at 01.00am on Monday 28 January 2008.

Round 6 of the 2007-08 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport returns to Easter Creek Circuit, Sydney, Australia on Friday 1 February to Sunday 3 February 2008.

A1GP Round 5 Sprint Race 1. New Zealand - 15pts 2. Germany - 12pts 3. France - 10pts 20. Great Britain A1GP Round 5

Feature Race 1. Germany - 15pts 2. Canada - 12pts 3. France - 10pts DNF. Great Britain

A1GP Championship 1. New Zealand - 82pts 2. France - 80pts 3. Switzerland - 80pts 8. Great Britain - 48pts

A1 Team Great Britain is partnered by AquaSP, Playseats and Visit Britain.

www.a1teamgbr.com  

 

- Victoria Henley, photo A1GP
more photos on automobilsport.com under PHOTOS - A1GP Series

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20.01.2008 / MaP

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