Four championship points for A1 Team Great Britain in South Africa as Danny Watts finishes the Feature race in seventh position.
After a difficult start to the weekend, with the team enduring electrical problems throughout practice, A1 Team Great Britain was happy today when Danny Watts finished the A1GP Gauteng Feature race in sixth position, scoring six valuable championship points. It came after a disappointing Sprint race at the South African circuit in which Danny was forced to retire after sustaining damage to the car trying to overtake the Brazilian team.
Starting 13th for the 14-lap Sprint race after struggling with electrical issues on the car in Saturday’s practice, it turned into a frustrating race for Danny and the team. GBR dropped one position down to 14th after the first lap and then dropped to 16th after the compulsory round of pitstops was completed. On lap nine, Danny made a move to overtake Brazil on the start/finish straight. There was contact between the two, causing a damaged sidepod and ripped tyres to the GBR car, which was sent into the gravel trap, putting an end to the race.
Danny gained two places at the start of the 40-lap feature race, moving up to eighth from his tenth place grid slot. With Ireland being pushed off on the first lap, GBR were up another place to seventh and then three laps later moved up to sixth when Malaysia went off track. The team gained a position after the first mandatory pitstop on lap nine, emerging in fifth place, and the team then made its final stop from that position on lap 26. Portugal managed to jump GBR during the stop, therefore Danny moved into sixth position. Two laps before the end, GBR was overtaken by Lebanon and crossed the line in seventh.
The sixth round of the 2008/09 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport will see the series returning to Europe for another brand new event at the Portimão Circuit on the Algarve in Portugal on 12 April. Three weeks after that, A1 Team GBR will return to home soil for the seventh round at Brands Hatch.
Danny Watts: Sprint Race: “I’m really disappointed with the result especially as the team has transformed the car for the better since yesterday. It’s really easy to drive and it’s just a shame we found the sweet spot so late in the weekend. The goo thing is that I know we’ve got a really god car going into the Feature race. We’re looking forward to dragging a result out of the next race.”Feature Race: “The car was fantastic throughout and that made it a lot easier during each stint. I had a good race with both Netherlands and Portugal, but unfortunately lost out at the pitstops, which is one thing I’ve got to work on. Apart from that we have come out of the weekend with a semi-decent result – it’s satisfying after what has been a very character building weekend for all of us.”
Katie Clements, Team Principal: “This weekend has not been as good as we had hoped but we were playing catch up the whole time as we didn’t take part in Friday practice. The team has worked really hard all weekend and we finally found a quick car today. The first race was unfortunate but luckily we were not in a position where we lost out on points and we just quickly turned our attentions to the Feature. We started in tenth due to qualifying being red flagged yesterday before Danny had the chance to set his lap, but he pushed hard, stayed safe and we have scored some points, which we really needed.”
A1GP Round 5 Sprint Race 1. Netherlands (Jeroen Bleekemoelen)2. Portugal (Filipe Albuquerque)3. Switzerland (Neel Jani)DNF. Great Britain (Danny Watts)
A1GP Round 5 Feature Race 1. Switzerland (Neel Jani) 2. Brazil (Felipe Guimaraes)3. Monaco (Clivio Piccione)7. Great Britain (Danny Watts)
Championship1. Switzerland (73 points) 2. Ireland (70 points)3. Portugal (64 points)10. Great Britain (20 points)