A1 Team Great Britain closes the gap to France in Shanghai

A1 Team Great Britain closes the gap to France in Shanghai

13.04.2008: A1 Team Great Britain closes the gap to France in Shanghai

A1 Team Great Britain’s Robbie Kerr finished both of today’s races in ninth position at the Shanghai International Circuit Robbie Kerr collected four championship points for A1 Team Great Britain today at the penultimate round of the 2007/08 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport at the Shanghai International Circuit in China.

His two ninth-place finishes in the Sprint and Feature race closed the gap to Team France in the championship to 12 points, and GBR is now aiming to pass them in the championship in three weeks time at the final round of the season at Brands Hatch. Team GBR began this morning’s 10-lap Sprint race from tenth on the grid and made unplanned set-up changes to the car on the grid due to an increase in the wind.

Robbie moved initially up to seventh, cleverly avoiding a startline incident involving New Zealand and USA, but dropped to ninth following turn two after going in three abreast with Italy and South Africa, and slipping behind both nations. Despite Robbie heading after eighth-placed Italy and fending off tenth-placed China, the pack continued in the established order and GBR crossed the finish line in ninth place.

It was a disappointing result for the British squad, although the saving grace came from fierce championship rivals France failing to score any points, with Robbie collecting two for the team. Robbie began from eighth in the afternoon’s 38-lap Feature race. He remained in eighth following the standing start but dropped to ninth after his first compulsory pitstop, which GBR took on lap nine, losing position to rivals France in the pits.

Rookie driver Duncan Tappy was on hand during today’s stops as he filled in and took on front jack duties, and the team did a solid job in both stops. Robbie faced pressure towards the mid-point of the race from Team Germany, but he continued to push France hard, trying for the pass on lap 17. Unfortunately he was unable to overtake the French car with new driver Franck Montagny at the wheel and, following his second stop on lap 26, he remained in ninth and maintained his position until the chequered flag.

Robbie Kerr: Sprint Race: "We had a good start initially and I thought I was going to get Germany, but then the incident happened in front and I had to back off allowing Germany to come back at us. Going into turn 1, I got bogged down by Germany which allowed Italy and South Africa to come either side boxing me in.

I did the sensible thing and backed off rather than risk an accident, and from then on chased Italy, but unfortunately wasn’t able to get close enough to mount a decent challenge. We struggled with the car handling throughout the race – it wasn’t quite as we’d like but we’ll work on getting this sorted for the feature race."

Feature Race: "It was a tough race today as we were in the mix throughout. We had a reasonable start but couldn’t quite make the most of it. Our first pit stop was really good but unfortunately India in the pit box in front didn’t, blocking us on the way out and costing us a position to France.

From that point on, we had the pace to attack France in front, but of course with Germany right behind I had to defend hard too. We had another good stop but got caught on the exit as South Africa came in.

Its been a challenging weekend, but we’ve come away with some points and still have a fighting chance of getting third (or possibly second if New Zealand have an unlikely bad weekend) in the championship with a strong performance at Brands Hatch."

Katie Clements, Team Principal: "This has obviously been a disappointing weekend for us because although we scored some points, we are used to scoring much higher, and had a very good chance to gain good ground on France for third place in the championship.

It has been one of those weekends you can have in racing where it just didn’t come together for us. We are now firmly focused on our home race at Brands Hatch in three weeks and we have not changed our objective of a top three championship finish."

Channel Five will broadcast all the highlights from Shanghai, China at 04.20am on Monday 21 April 2008.

Round 10, the finale of the 2007/08 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport takes place at Brands Hatch, UK from Friday 2 to Sunday 4 May 2008.

A1GP Round 9 Sprint Race 1. Switzerland - 15pts 2. Canada - 12pts 3. Portugal - 10pts 9. Great Britain - 2pts Round 9

Feature Race 1. USA - 15pts 2. Portugal - 12pts 3. Ireland - 10pts 9. Great Britain - 2pts

A1GP Championship 1. Switzerland - 150pts 2. New Zealand - 121pts 3. France - 111pts 4. Great Britain - 99pts

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

 

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

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/a1-team-great-britain-robbie-kerr-gap-france-brands-hatch-shanghai-photos---35730.html

13.04.2008 / MaP

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