A1 Team Lebanon finally scores points in A1GP

A1 Team Lebanon finally scores points in A1GP

06.10.2008: A1 Team Lebanon finally scores points in A1GP

A1 Team Lebanon enjoyed their two best ever A1GP performances in the season opening A1GP, Zandvoort, Netherlands event today with a tenth place finish in the Sprint race and the team’s first World Cup of Motorsport points in the Feature race. Although driver Daniel Morad crashed out before the chequered flag while lying in fourth place, he was classified eighth and scored three points for the Lebanon team.

Torrential weather conditions shaped the outcome of the Sprint race today. With A1 Team Lebanon having its best qualifying performance of its A1GP history, Morad lined up in tenth place on the grid. The pouring rain and strong winds were deemed dangerous for the safety of the drivers and the race organisers elected to start the race behind the safety car.

After two laps of touring the Dutch circuit the safety car returned to the pits to release the field for green flag racing. There was drama up and down the grid as the drivers struggled to cope with the rain soaked track with its pools of water. Unfortunately Morad was caught braking into turn 1, running off track and into the gravel. He was quickly able to rejoin the field, but had dropped to 14th place.

The young Canadian-Lebanese driver was undeterred and set about catching his rival nations ahead. As the race settled he was able to make up places, while also coping with the challenging conditions, moving up to 11th by mid-distance. In the closing stages, with the weather still limiting visibility and throwing up spray behind each car Morad continued to push on, finally capturing the elusive top ten finish position for A1 Team Lebanon.

The Feature race also started behind the safety car, with the heavy rain continuing to fall. The Lebanon team were tenth on the grid and after two laps behind the safety car, the race began in earnest. Morad drove smoothly, and while others around him succumbed to the tough track and dire weather, he moved up to fifth place by the time of his first mandatory pitstop.

A lightning quick tyre change from the Lebanon crew helped Morad to move up to fourth position after all the teams had made their first stops. A safety car period to remove a stranded Portuguese car calmed the field down and regrouped them at half distance and after a few laps the A1GP cars were off racing again. When the second pitstop window opened the Lebanon crew gave Morad another quick, clean stop and he was soon back racing hard and up to fourth place.

Sadly, with less than four laps remaining Morad, whilst trying to pass the slower Chinese car, was caught in a river of water as he downshifted, which put him into a spin on the pit straight. He flew through the gravel and into the tyre barriers, ending his race. However, at the race finish with only seven cars crossing the line, the team were awarded eighth place to take three World Cup of Motorsport points, their first ever points finish since they started competing in the Series three years ago.

Morad said at the end of the day, "The sprint race was very tough, with the spray reducing visibility to virtually nothing. Our strategy was to keep clean and finish the race which we did. In the Feature race the team did an awesome job with the pitstops and helped me to gain places, but I just lost it close to the end when I hit standing water.

I’m gutted that I wasn’t able to finish, but at the same time I’m thrilled to have brought Lebanon their first points in the Series. I know how much this means to the team and to the nation, so I leave here with plenty of positives."

Tameem Auchi, Seatholder, A1 Team Lebanon, added, "First of all I’d like to congratulate Daniel on bringing Lebanon the first World Cup points. We’ve waited a long time for this moment and finally we have achieved our first goal of the season.

The team has worked extremely hard within a very short space of time to be ready for this weekend and I’m delighted that their efforts have been rewarded. It’s only the first of ten rounds and I think that we’ve shown that there is great potential with Daniel, the new car and the team."

Billy Karam, A1 Team Lebanon Ambassador, sums up the weekend saying, "We’ve had excellent results this weekend - more than could be expected for the first two races. I know everyone in Lebanon would like to join me in congratulating the team for their achievements. We look forward to seeing Daniel and the team racing in China."  

 

- Alison Hill -  photos A1GP

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/a1-team-lebanon-a1gp-zandvoort-points-daniel-morad-tameem-auchi-billy-karam---45668.html

06.10.2008 / MaP

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