Team Brasil heads to Taupo as A1GP kicks off the New Year

14.01.2008: Team Brasil heads to Taupo as A1GP kicks off the New Year

A1GP World Cup of Motorsport, Round 5 - Taupo, New Zealand 

Sergio Jimenez and Clemente Faria Jr will join forces for A1 Team Brasil, as the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport resumes in the New Year at the Taupo Circuit in New Zealand. Sergio, who has raced in each of the four rounds so far for Team Brasil, scoring a podium at Sepang in November, will be joined by new rookie Clemente as the team look to climb the championship ladder in the Australasian double-header.

This weekend’s race at Taupo will be followed just two weeks later with the Eastern Creek fixture near Sydney in Australia. Clemente will drive in the fifty-minute rookie practice session on Friday morning at each track before handing over driving duties to Sergio, who will compete in the additional two one-hour practice sessions before embarking on qualifying for Sunday’s sprint and feature races.

The Taupo Circuit is approximately 200km from New Zealand’s capital of Auckland. The track was significantly redesigned and rebuilt in 2007, in preparation for A1GP’s first visit there, and is now a stunning 3.5km circuit featuring new facilities and pit complex.

Heading into the weekend A1 Team Brasil lies eleventh in the standings with 22 points. Following Sergio’s brilliant podium finish in the Malaysian feature race, Brasil’s first podium since November 2005, the team suffered as it visited Zhuhai for round four. Sergio was put out of both races by incidents involving other cars, which prevented him from increasing the team’s points tally. A1 Team Brasil is looking to demonstrate its true form and speed as the second half of the 2007/08 season gets underway.

Emerson Fittipaldi, Team Principal: "I think the next race will be good for A1 Team Brasil. I am sure we will improve our qualifying position from the last race and can then show our real race pace and performance. Sergio has been doing a very good job for the team and I know he is capable of getting back on the podium. We also have a new rookie for this race as Clemente joins us, and it will be important for him to work well with the team and learn about his new role this weekend."

Sergio Jimenez: "I’m really looking forward to getting back in the car again after the winter break and moving on from the problems we suffered in Zhuhai. Qualifying wasn’t good for us because of the brake problems and then we were hit by other guys twice in the race so we couldn’t show how good we were. Things will be better in New Zealand, and we are realistically aiming to qualify in the top six and score another podium finish.

Taupo will be another new circuit for me but this time I will not drive the rookie session. This will cost me some time in learning the track but I don’t think it will make too much of a difference and we will have Clemente there to bridge the gap and help us over the weekend."

Clemente Faria Jr: "It will be great to get to Taupo and work with Sergio and the rest of the team. I think the car has been improved a lot since I drove it in the summer test and my job now is to get used to the car and work with Sergio to develop it further. It will also be important to learn a lot from Emerson and build up a good relationship with everyone. It’s a new track for me so in the first practice I will be learning the circuit and then in the second practice I will work on developing the car with Sergio and the engineers."

A1GP Taupo Schedule (local times)

Friday 18 January:

11.00-12.00: Practice Session 1 (Rookies and developing nations only)

14.00-15.00: Practice Session 2

Saturday 19 January:

11.00-12.00: Practice Session 3

14.15-15.30: Qualifying

Sunday 20 January:

11.00-11.20: Sprint Race

15.00-16.10: Feature Race


Television Broadcast: Viewers in Brasil can watch the A1GP Zhuhai round at 11am local time on RedeTV! on Sunday 20 January.  

- Rebecca Banks-


14.01.2008 / MaP

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