A1 Team Lebanon close to points goal

A1 Team Lebanon close to points goal

20.01.2008: A1 Team Lebanon close to points goal

The fifth round of the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport, New Zealand concluded today with the Sprint and Feature races entertaining a strong crowd of local supporters in Taupo. A1 Team Lebanon with driver Chris Alajajian came close to achieving their first points finish in the Sprint race, but ultimately finished 15th, while the team had to retire from the Feature race having completed four laps after a clash with Italy.

The morning sprint race began with the customary A1GP rolling start. From his 17th place start Alajajian made up six places, a mix of strong driving from the wave of the green flag and benefiting from other’s misfortunes. By the end of the first lap he was lying in 11th place. For the next two laps the cars held position behind the safety car, until being unleashed to race at full speed again.

The Lebanon car was up to 10th by lap six and holding position well as the race progressed. With four laps to go the team was looking good for its first World Cup of Motorsport points, but disaster struck, with Alajajian the innocent victim of the Czech Republic driver behind him outbraking himself into turn 12. Lebanon were able to continue but had lost places, finishing 15th at the chequered flag.

Alajajian said after the Sprint race, "Of course I’m very disappointed that we didn’t capture those elusive points by finishing in the top ten. There’s nothing I could have done about it, it was just a racing incident. Thomas (Czech Republic driver) came and apologised to me and I know it wasn’t an intentional move, but it was a huge blow for the team, as it looked as if we had the result we needed."

The start of the Feature race also produced drama, and although Alajajian avoided this on the opening lap, three laps later he outbraked himself and slid into the rear of the Italian car, bouncing into the gravel run off and bringing his race to a premature end.

The Lebanon driver added after his Feature race, "This time it was my fault, with the dusty track and a little late braking ending with a trip into the gravel, and the car wasn’t going anywhere. I think there are some positives we can take from this weekend. We know we can run close to the top ten, so we just need to make a further step and achieve our goal.

Luke Craft, Team Principal, A1 Team Lebanon adds, "Although the results are not the ones that we wanted, there is plenty of optimism as we head to Eastern Creek, a track that Chris knows well. We’ve learnt a few lessons from this weekend and we need to use the experiences of these two races to make up ground and nail that points finish. We were the closest we’ve been to this goal today, but unfortunately it didn’t happen."

 

The A1GP World Cup of Motorsport now moves on to Sydney, Australia for the sixth round of competition in this third season. The event is held at Eastern Creek Raceway, near Parramatta, the location of a large Lebanese community.

A1 Team Lebanon were given strong support from local fans on their previous visits and are hoping that they will see their fans out to support them at this year’s event, which takes place from 1-3 February. 

 

- Alison Hill - photos A1GP Series

more photos on automobilsport.com under PHOTOS - A1GP Series

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20.01.2008 / MaP

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