Tough A1 Team GBR debut

 for Clarke in New Zealand

A1 Team Great Britain’s Dan Clark finishes 12th in the Sprint race and 13th in the Feature 

Sunday saw A1 Team Great Britain competing in round four of the 2008/09 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport at the Taupo Motorsport Park in New Zealand. Dan Clarke, on his debut for the team, finished the Sprint race in 12th place and the Feature race in 13th position.

In a change to usual procedure, the 15-lap Sprint race began using a standing start rather than a rolling start, due to concerns over safety at the first corner. Starting from 15th on the grid, Dan was unfortunately held up the second corner, which saw an incident cost time for the USA, Monaco and Brazil cars. He was stuck behind a spinning Brazil and lost time himself before he could rejoin the race. He fell back to 18th and managed to catch up to the back of the pack, and was then able to benefit from a slick pitstop from the crew on lap seven to emerge in 13th place, and crossed the line in that position. Following a penalty given to Monaco after the race, GBR was promoted to 12th place.

With Mexico starting from the pits in the 50-lap Feature race, GBR found itself up to 13th at the beginning of the race. Avoiding a few incidents at the back of the pack, Dan was able to gain another place up to 12th on the first lap and was up to 11th on lap five when the USA fell back. After the first of two compulsory pitstops, which GBR took on lap nine, Dan was in a points scoring tenth position, however after a spin on lap 19, he fell back down to 15th. He maintained position after the second pitstop but by lap 44 had gained two places after China was handed a driver through penalty and Malaysia went off track. He took the chequered flag in 13th.

The 2008/09 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport will resume 20-22 February when the fifth round will take place at a brand new venue for A1GP. Having competed in South Africa for the past three seasons at the Durban street circuit, this year’s South Africa event will relocate to the Kyalami circuit near Johannesburg.

Dan Clarke: Sprint Race: “I was racing the USA car out of turn one and was on the inside into turn two where he must have lost his footing because he braked and hit the Brazil car, which went into a half spin and stopped in the middle of the corner across my path. I couldn’t get out of the way and there were cars either side so I was unlucky to get stuck there. I just had to race on and we stayed out late before stopping to get in a couple of quick laps. After a great pitstop from the guys, we were able to jump a few places in the pits. I came out about eight car lengths behind USA, managed to chase him down and was on his bumper but yellow flags prevented me from making a pass. Our fastest lap wasn’t far off the quickest overall so we’ve made a jump in time from qualifying.”Feature Race: “The start was okay and it was running alright in the race. The guys did a great job in both pitstops, as they have all weekend, but when I made the mistake and spun that was it really. I was just pushing really hard and I lost the rear on the bumps shifting down a gear, however I was lucky to get out of the gravel. It wasn’t an easy race but we have made speed increases in every session and showed good promise.”

Katie Clements, Team Principal: “Ultimately we cannot get away from the fact that this has been a disappointing weekend and we have come away with no points. We have got positives to take in the team’s performance and the pace we have once again shown and we now have to brush ourselves down and work hard in preparation for the next race in South Africa.”

A1GP Round 4 Sprint Race 1. Ireland (Adam Carroll)2. Switzerland (Neel Jani)3. Netherlands (Robert Doornbos)13. Great Britain (Dan Clarke)

A1GP Round 4 Feature Race 1. Switzerland (Neel Jani) 2. Ireland (Adam Carroll)3. Portugal (Filipe Albuquerque)13. Great Britain (Dan Clarke)

Championship1. Ireland (65 points) 2. Switzerland (52 points)3. Portugal (49 points)10. Great Britain (16 points)

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