A1 Team France - We’ll do better next time

16.12.2007: A1 Team France - We’ll do better next time

The A1 Team France left Zhuhai in a disappointed frame of mind, having scored only 7 points during the weekend. However, it is still in second place in the overall classification, 19 points behind Switzerland, and one in front of New Zealand. Loïc Duval started the Sprint race from seventh on the grid and made an excellent getaway before being boxed in the first corner, losing a place.

As the track was very dusty and slippery off line throughout the weekend, it was impossible to try and pass without taking huge risks, so he saw the flag in eighth position. The team had high hopes for the Feature race. Unfortunately, the first refuelling stop compromised its chances of a podium finish. Loïc was waved away from his pit a bit too early after a tyre change, and he suddenly found the New Zealand car on his left in the pit lane.

He then ran over one of the hoses held by a mechanic from the United States team, which resulted in a fall for the latter, luckily without consequences. Loïc was given a drive-through penalty because of this incident and despite losing a lot of time, he managed to fight his way back up to seventh place. The aim is now to reduce the gap between A1 Team France and Switzerland in the next round of the championship on the Taupo circuit in New Zealand on 18th January.  

Olivier Panis, sporting director: "On paper, the Zhuhai circuit seemed to offer good overtaking opportunities. Unfortunately, it remained very dirty throughout the weekend and it was virtually impossible to attempt anything. So we really could do nothing in the Sprint race as we started from too far back on the grid. In the Feature event, we looked on course for a podium finish until we were penalised.

That kind of thing happens, and we managed to limit the damage by finishing seventh. What’s reassuring is that we’re still as quick as ever. Our weekend’s performance is due to racing incidents which did not play in our favour."

Loïc Duval, driver: "This weekend Lady Luck didn’t smile on us! I made a good start in the Sprint race but I was boxed in by the British car in the first corner. I had to lift off and India took advantage of this to nip past. In the second event the first refuelling stop cost us a rostrum finish. Towards the end I had to nurse the car as the gearbox was beginning to act up.

Despite this, I missed out on the fastest lap by a tenth of a second, which shows just how quick we are. Finally, our weekend’s performance was not in keeping with our hopes, but we managed to score a few points. We’re still second overall and last year we had a good race on the Taupo circuit.

Between now and then we’ll have to improve our refuelling procedures. I’d like to thank the mechanics and the team, which gave me a good car for the whole weekend."

 

- A1 Team France -

photos on automobilsport.com under PHOTOS - A1GP Series

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16.12.2007 / MaP

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