Promising start for A1 Team Lebanon in new season of A1GP

Promising start for A1 Team Lebanon in new season of A1GP

01.10.2007: Promising start for A1 Team Lebanon in new season of A1GP

The first race weekend of the new A1GP season produced the familiar rough and tumble of 22 nations competing against each other for national honours, with A1 Team Lebanon in the thick of the action, at a dry, bright Zandvoort, in contrast to the rain which dampened qualifying yesterday. A 14th place finish in the Sprint was the high point today, with the team having to retire with mechanical problems in the Feature race.

Qualifying in 18th place for both races, Lebanon took the rolling start for the first race and with spirited driving from Alajajian had made up four places by the end of the first lap, including a bold move to take two cars through the mid section of the lap. Lying in 14th position, the Lebanon car was lapping consistently and maintaining position as the laps counted down to the chequered flag, finally crossing the finish line in this position. This encouraging finish was the best opening race result to a season that the team has seen since the start of A1GP.

The start of the Feature race produced dramatic, yet clean racing with nations jostling for position down the main straight and through the opening lap. Alajajian improved to 16th after the opening lap and was then up to 15th when the first round of pit stops started. The Lebanon team stayed out on track but were punted off track by the Pakistan driver which sent Alajajian into a spin. He kept the engine running and was able to continue, but had lost a number of places. The Pakistan driver was served a drive through penalty for his actions.

Pitting for new tyres, the Lebanon crew gave Alajajian a quick turn around and he was soon back on track, although having lost a few places due to the incident with Pakistan and was lying 18th. Running consistently, Alajajian maintained position through the mid-section of the race. The final pitstop window opened on lap 30 which was the prompt for many nations to pit. Lebanon opted to bring the Lebanese car in at the start of this window, along with many other teams and with quick pit work from the crew he was quickly back on pace again. A few laps later the team were disappointed to retire from the race with electrical problems and a premature end to the Feature race for Lebanon.

Alajajian said of his first race weekend, "Itís been a very steep learning curve. My only experience of the A1 car at Zandvoort before the race was yesterday when we were running on wet tyres in rainy conditions. Today it was dry and bright, but I had not driven on dry tyres in the car, and with a full tank of fuel, so it was all new to me. Considering this, Iím satisfied with our performance. I was pleased to make up a few places in the Sprint, in my first run for Lebanon. It was a shame that we werenít able to finish the Feature race, but thatís just one of those things in racing."

Tameem Auchi, Seatholder, A1 Team Lebanon concluded, "Overall itís been a tough, but productive weekend. Chris coped well with the pressures of the challenge that he had, not only with his A1GP debut, but also having the weather to contend with. I think itís been a promising start for the season ahead." The A1GP Series continues in two weeks time in Brno, Czech Republic, with the second round racing action.

 

Follow the progress of the team at www.A1TeamLebanon.com

 

- Alison Hill -  photos A1GP

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/a1gp-a1-team-lebanon-zandvoort-brno-alajajian-chris-tameem-auchi-seatholder-lebanese-driver---28499.html

01.10.2007 / MaP

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