Shanghai low for Lebanon

Shanghai low for Lebanon

13.04.2008: Shanghai low for Lebanon

The A1GP World Cup of Motorsport, Shanghai, China gave an enthusiastic crowd of fans two thrilling races. A1 Team Lebanon, with Jimmy Auby driving, showcased the nation to the busy grandstands and millions of viewers around the world. The young South African-Lebanese, representing the Arab world for the second time, finished 18th in the Sprint race and 22nd in the Feature race.

A1 Team Lebanon began the Sprint race from 20th place, with the rolling start producing early drama ahead of Auby. As the green flag flew and the pace hotted, Team USA and Team New Zealand, one of the championship contenders, clashed as they raced down the main straight, with the New Zealand car spearing off the track and the American car limping back to the pits.

Auby kept his cool and avoided not only the two damaged cars, but also the flying debris from the incident. By the end of the first lap Lebanon were lying in 18th place, but with only 10 laps of racing it was always going to be a tough challenge for Auby to gain further positions.

The Pakistan car was ahead for the first part of the race, but when their driver, Adam Khan, passed Netherlands for position, it was the Dutch car that Lebanon was chasing. Although unable to make a pass on the car ahead, Auby pursued hard and kept the gap close for the duration of the Sprint distance, finishing less than a second behind Netherlands, a previous race winner in the Series.

The Feature race grid lined up in front of an enthusiastic crowd in Shanghai and after the parade lap, the field of A1GP cars fired off the starting line and down to the first corner. The pack ran tightly through the sequence of corners and emerged without incident at the end of the first lap. Auby passed the Mexican car, but was in turn passed by South Africa, to lie 21st at the first round of pitstops.

After a clean pitstop, Auby returned to the track, however Auby had exceeded the maximum pit lane speed and was forced to return for a drive through penalty. Auby’s inexperience led to a further contravention of the A1GP rules and he was penalised with a ‘stop and go’ penalty, with the Lebanon car returning to the team’s pit box for 10 seconds before returning to the track.

This put the team one lap down on the rest of the field and a tough challenge for the young South African-Lebanese driver to make up any positions. After a further pitstop Auby crossed the finish line in 22nd position.

Auby said after the two races, "It was an uneventful Sprint race and although we didn’t make up any ground, I was able to stay on the pace of the cars around me and we completed the race distance. The Feature race was very disappointing, with my rookie errors costing us any chance of improvement, but I have gained so much experience today, only my second weekend with the team."

Luke Craft, Team Principal, added, "After a steady start today, with Jimmy running at a consistent pace throughout the Sprint race, our fortunes turned in the Feature race. Jimmy’s lack of race experience led to small errors, but I know he’ll learn from these mistakes. The team gave him two good pitstops and we have a good reliability record, so operationally we’re pleased with today and these are positives we take away from China."

The final round of the 2007/08 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport, the third season of the Series, takes place at Brands Hatch in Kent, UK, from 2-4 May.

 

- Alison Hill - photos A1GP
more photos on automobilsport.com under PHOTOS - A1GP

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/a1-team-lebanon-shanghai-jimmy-auby-brands-hatch-luke-craft-photos---35729.html

13.04.2008 / MaP

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