TECHNICAL ISSUES BLIGHT A1 TEAM GBR IN MALAYSIA
and a Feature race tussle blight progress
It was a disappointing day for A1 Team Great Britain and Danny Watts at the Sepang International Circuit for round three of the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport, with the squad leaving Malaysia having scored no points after suffering technical problems in both the Sprint and Feature races.
There was a disrupted start to the 12-lap Sprint race as the red flag came out following a big incident on the start line involving India, USA and Brazil, which caused the retirement of all three cars. The race was restarted under the safety car half an hour later and reduced by a lap, but GBR’s race was short-lived as Danny limped into the pits after being stuck in first gear for the first lap. Investigations showed the ECU needed to be replaced and, by working hard, the team was able to get Danny back out for the final three laps to run some installation laps ahead of the Feature race.
Danny made a slow start off the line for the 34-lap Feature race and fell to fifth behind teams Ireland, Portugal, Lebanon and Malaysia. On lap three, after a safety car period, he ran wide after attempting to overtake Lebanon and was then forced to pit after touching France while sandwiched between Loic Duval and Brazil’s Felipe Guimaraes, damaging his nosecone. He came back out on track a lap down, yet showing very good pace, fighting with France for the fastest lap honours. On lap 23 he was forced into another unscheduled trip into the pits after a problem with the brakes, which the team fixed and he was able to go back out six laps later. He fought hard to set the fastest lap, aiming for the bonus point, but set the second quickest, just missing out to race winners Ireland.
After three of ten rounds, there is now a nine week break in the 2008/09 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport, with the championship getting back underway at Taupo in New Zealand from 23-25 January 2009. A1 Team Great Britain is currently in ninth position in the championship with 16 points.
Danny Watts: Sprint Race: “Everything appeared to be okay before the race was red flagged, but when we got going again for the restart, it wouldn’t change up from first gear. So we had to pit and found that it was a problem with the ECU. We managed to get out again at the end for some installation laps just to check everything was okay ahead of the Feature Race. It’s disappointing, but these things happen in racing.”Feature Race: “I didn’t get the clutch control quite right at the start and just got swallowed up early on. After that I got involved in a dog fight with Lebanon and we both lost out running wide, then to compound matters I got sandwiched in going into turn 9 and touched the back of France losing my front nose. The only consolation was that we were quick and just missed out on fastest lap. But overall, it’s been a bad day in the office”
Katie Clements, Team Principal: “Obviously a very disappointing day and not what we had hoped for after all the points we scored on China two weeks ago, but these weekends sometimes happen in racing. We now have a long break and we will use the time to regroup in preparation for getting our championship campaign back on track in New Zealand in January.”
A1GP Round 3 Sprint Race 1. Switzlerand (Neel Jani)2. France (Loic Duval)3. New Zealand (Earl Bamber)16. Great Britain (Danny Watts)
A1GP Round 3 Feature Race 1. Ireland (Adam Carroll) 2. Portugal (Filipe Albuquerque)3. USA (Marco Andretti)16. Great Britain (Danny Watts)
Championship1. Ireland (43 points) 2. Portugal (35 points)3. France (31 points)9. Great Britain (16 points)