A1 Team Lebanon ready for new Chinese challenge

13.12.2007: A1 Team Lebanon ready for new Chinese challenge

A1 Team Lebanon resumes A1GP competition this weekend with a new venue for the Series. The Zhuhai International Circuit will host the fifth round of this season’s A1GP World Cup of Motorsport, welcoming the 22 nations to the province of GuangDong, close to the Hong Kong border.

Khalil Beschir and Chris Alajajian will represent the nation, continuing their quest for championship points and building on the foundations that the team has built over the last two seasons. The circuit was built in 1996, the first permanent facility in the region and one which hosts international sportscar racing events, national and regional championships and, more recently, motorbike races.

The A1GP Series will be the venue’s first major international single seater championship and is set to thrill the region’s racing fans. The 4.3 km track, following its completion in 1996 was reprofiled with the assistance of renowned F1 circuit designer, Herman Tilke. It offers challenging corners for spectacular overtaking manoeuvres to world class drivers: the clockwise direction circuit has 4 left turns, 10 right turns, 2 straights of 900m and 500m each.

The 900 metre long main straight, as well as another straight in excess of 500 metres followed by sweeping corners offer a top speed of over 300 kph, and with a 12 – 14 metre track width, should provide plenty of high-speed wheel-to- wheel racing from the nations competing in A1GP.

Beschir will be the first A1 Team Lebanon driver to sample the Zhuhai circuit in the A1GP car, having been selected to take part in the Friday morning rookie/developing nation session. As a new circuit to the A1GP calendar none of the teams has any data or track information relating to the A1GP car, so it will be an important session for the team.

Beschir says, "The first time that the nations will be out on track in Zhuhai will be Friday morning, so I expect to see all the teams putting in as much running as possible to collate as much information as they can. For me, I’m looking to continue to show progress with the A1 Team Lebanon car, and for that I need to get on a good pace as quickly as I can. It doesn’t seem to be a difficult circuit, so I think we’ll all be up to speed fairly quickly and from there it will be all down to teamwork. I need to work closely with the engineers to give them the feedback they need to make the set up changes that can provide the optimum performance of the car for this track."

"Driving the A1GP car is always a pleasure for me and I’m really looking forward to being back in the cockpit. We need to continue to show improvement for Lebanon and that’s my aim this weekend. We visited Beirut two weeks ago and I know everyone is very supportive of the team, so we’re very eager to deliver good results for Lebanon."

The A1GP World Cup of Motorsport, Zhuhai, China begins tomorrow with the rookie/developing nations session in the morning, followed by an afternoon official practice session. It continues on Saturday with final practice and qualifying, which sets the grid for Sunday’s two races.

The first of these is a short Sprint race and the second one a 70 minutes Feature race including two pit stops. A1 Team Lebanon fans in the Arab region can watch the action live on Al Jazeera Sport.

 

- Alison Hill -

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13.12.2007 / MaP

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