EASTERN CREEK, Sydney, Australia – On a sunny day in Sydney, new A1 Team USA driver Bryan Herta posted the team’s second best finish of the season in the A1 Grand Prix of Nations in Australia. Herta finished the Sunday Feature Race in 10th place, claming his first ever series point for A1 Team USA.
Herta fought hard all day for A1 Team USA. He started in 22nd position out of 24 teams prior to the initial Sprint Race where he then finished in 15th place. After moving up those eight places in the Sprint Race, he then was able to push the American team into the top ten in the Feature Race, finishing just behind team Brazil who is in second place in the overall standings of the new racing series.
Herta may have been able to achieve even more in the Feature Race but due to a serious crash involving the Japanese car, eight of the final ten laps were run under a yellow flag which made it difficult for A1 Team USA to gain any additional ground towards the end of the race.
Although he would have liked to have finished even higher, Herta was realistic about what the team achieved and was already looking forward to Malaysia, where he hopes to score even more points for the American team.
"We progressed pretty far today after starting off in the back of the pack, but we were able to fight throughout the day, move up into the top ten and claim a point" said Herta. "The yellow flag at the end pretty much killed any momentum we had going. We still have a way to go to get where we need to be, but I am happy that we made progress today, moving up a total of twelve places over the two races. We now need to use this experience to finish even higher in Malaysia."
During both races today Herta showed skill on several levels by not only winning a point for the American team, but also avoiding at least one collision. After having had some bad luck in previous races, Herta’s success for A1 Team USA was welcomed by A1 Team USA owner Rick Weidinger.
"In some of the previous races we were certainly the team that couldn’t catch a break. Today we reversed that fortune," said Weidinger. "Bryan showed a lot of poise and maturity out there and fought for us the entire day. I’d like to see us start the next race higher than 22nd, but today was a good example of how solid and consistent driving can keep you in the points."
The national anthem played at the winner’s podium had a familiar ring to it as A1 Team France won their third straight race putting them even further up the leader board with 70 total points after four rounds, a full 19 points ahead of second place Brazil who finished today’s Feature Race in ninth place, just ahead of the American team.
Rounding out the winner’s podium today were Team Great Britain in second place and Team Switzerland in third. Rounding out the top five in the overall standings after France and Brazil are Switzerland, New Zealand and Great Britain, respectively.
The point today gives A1 Team USA a total of eight for the season to date, which puts the team in 15th place out of 25.
A1 Grand Prix provides national teams and their drivers the opportunity to compete globally on a level playing field with open wheeled race cars that have identical specifications and engines. For the first time in racing history, A1 Grand Prix puts driver against driver and nation against nation. A1 Grand Prix will bring together up to 25 nations representing 80 per cent of the world’s population. It is the skill of the drivers and their crews that will determine who wins the race.
The global series will take place across six continents—North and South America, Europe, Africa, Australia and Asia—and will be televised around the world so fans in both established and emerging markets can experience the thrill of this historic international race series.
The next race on schedule for A1 Team USA is at Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia. For more information on A1 Grand Prix, including a schedule of the 2005-2006 racing season, visit www.a1gp.com
For more information on A1 Team USA, please visit the team’s website at http://www.a1teamusa.com/ - A1 Team USA photos-