BLACK BEAUTY CHALLENGED IN CHENGDU A1 Team New Zealand's Black Beauty has failed to shine this weekend, competing at Round Two of the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport in Chengdu, China. Chris van der Drift made his race debut this weekend ...
BLACK BEAUTY CHALLENGED IN CHENGDU
A1 Team New Zealand's Black Beauty has failed to shine this weekend, competing at Round Two of the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport in Chengdu, China.
Chris van der Drift made his race debut this weekend driving for New Zealand at Chengdu. Despite the team's best efforts, they were unable to back up the strong season opening round last month at Zandvoort, The Netherlands. After sitting in third place following Zandvoort, New Zealand now lie in fourth place with twenty points, eight points off leaders Malaysia.
The shorter Sprint Race was the more successful race of the weekend for the team, placing seventh after qualifying in eighth place. A pass on championship rival Team France was the sole move forward for the team.
Qualifying for the longer Feature Race had proven difficult, seeing New Zealand line up fifteenth on the grid.
Drama unfolded straight away off the start, with Team Netherlands stalling on the start line, bringing out the safety car, while van der Drift quickly worked the 'Kiwi' car up to tenth.
A pass on Team France for ninth gave hope to New Zealand team supporters. Meanwhile the compulsory first pit-stop for the team was super quick, and got the Kiwi car back on track ready to continue progress forward in the standings.
That was until disaster struck. Black Beauty experienced a software glitch that shut down the engine, and caused van der Drift to need to turn the car off, then back on again, dropping NZL back to thirteenth.
As the laps counted down to the finish, the quick Kiwi pushed his way back to an eventual finishing position of eleventh.
Points are scored for cars finishing in the top eight in the Sprint race, with New Zealand bagging two points from their Sprint Race effort. In the longer Feature Race, points are awarded down to tenth place, meaning no further points were scored, and Team New Zealand bank just two points from the round.
While this is not the ideal scenario for the team, the structure of the championship for Season Four gives teams the chance to drop their worst performance of a weekend at the end of the season.
The next round of the A1GP gets underway at Malaysia's Sepang circuit with just one weekend off in between this weekend and Sepang.
Chris van der Drift, Driver
"We made a good start in the Sprint Race, but it was a shame they cancelled pit-stops in first race due to safety reasons"
"The setup of the car after the Sprint Race was still not spot on, so we changed direction for the Feature Race. We had some good pace, but the engine shutting down cost us in a big way."
John Sears, Team Manager
"Before the Feature Race we made quite a few changes to the car. We had been finding that after three to four laps the car had huge understeer"
"Again Chris made a good start, then we made more places up in the pit-stops"