Chengdu: In only its second A1GP World Cup of Motorsport Powered by Ferrari weekend, Team Monaco achieved a top ten finish in this morning's Sprint race and maintained its starting position to take seventh place during an exciting Feature race at...
Chengdu: In only its second A1GP World Cup of Motorsport Powered by Ferrari weekend, Team Monaco achieved a top ten finish in this morning's Sprint race and maintained its starting position to take seventh place during an exciting Feature race at the Chengdu International Circuit. This afternoon's result means that Team Monaco, new to the A1GP series this season, is currently in 11th place in the championship with nine points and three Top Ten finishes.
The morning's Sprint race saw Team Ireland winning from pole position, with Netherlands and GBR in second and third places respectively. A1 Team Monaco seat holder and driver Clivio Piccione, starting from 10th on the grid, drove a solid 18-laps race and skilfully overtook India on the penultimate lap to take the chequered flag in ninth position with a best lap time of 1:17.153.
The focus then switched to the afternoon's 50-laps Feature race with Clivio beginning at the sharp end of the action from seventh position on the grid. He made a fantastic start when the lights went out, weaving cleanly up the grid to make up three positions to sit in fourth place when the safety car was deployed due to a stall on the grid by Team Netherlands. The safety car returned to the pits on lap three and when the race re-started, Clivio continued to push Ireland ahead of him.
Clivio made his first mandatory stop at the window opening on lap nine along with several of the teams. On returning to the track he had lost three places in the congested pitlane and on crossing the line, with 39 laps to go, Clivio was in 13th position. However, after all of the teams had made their mandatory first pitstops, he had maintained his original starting position behind teams Malaysia, Australia and Switzerland in seventh place.
With 25 laps to go Clivio made his final mandatory pitstop. He emerged in eighth place once all of the stops had taken place, showing just how close in pace and performance the leading pack remained. An ambitious overtaking manoeuvre on the dirty side of the track on lap 38 by Team France on the outside of Australia resulted in France spinning and stopping in the gravel trap. With the safety car once again deployed, the field was able to tighten and Clivio, with five out of the team's eight power-boost runs remaining, was able to make a charge for sixth position when the safety car lights went out with only six laps to go. Clivio held USA behind him as the teams battling for the final places in the top 10 made their final power-boost surges in to turn one.
The Monegasque squad pushed Team Australia hard, breathing on the rear wing of their car until the chequered flag. Clivio crossed the finish line as he had started, in seventh position, to take the team's second championship points haul of the season.
Clivio Piccione: "I made a really good start from the line in the Feature race from P7 to P4. I went on the outside in to turn one and was running side-by-side with Switzerland for the first three corners. The safety car came out straight way and when we restarted we were running well and following the pace of the cars in front. We were not able to catch them, but kept our distance under control. We came in to pitstop in the first lap of the window; unfortunately it was a bit long and we lost places to Switzerland and Australia. The car didn't feel good on the second set of tyres; I had understeer, losing time on the quick sections, but I pushed as much as possible. On the second pitstop we had another issue and lost another place. The car came good when the next safety car was out and you could see other teams having a few problems with the tyres. But after the safety car came in, our car was a bit difficult and I continued to push to fight for sixth place with Australia. I tried a few different moves, but he defended well and I could not dive in. Overall our performance was quite good; we had an amazing start and the correct pace throughout the race. We know where we need to improve and so we look forward to the next round in Sepang."
Graham Taylor, Team Principal: "It was a fairly uneventful Sprint race as we with knew we had to keep our nose clean, being in a better starting position for the afternoon's Feature race. All went according to plan in the morning and Clivio made a good overtaking manoeuvre at end of the race, dispatching Team India to come home in ninth position. We made an excellent start to the Feature race with our strategy working according to plan and we were racing in fourth position by the end of lap one. With the pits being closed to stops under the safety car, we kept to a conservative strategy and pitted as soon as they were open. We lost a few places due to a slow pitstop and the second set of tyres also hurt the balance of the car. After our second stop, which was also too long, the balance came back and Clivio was able to execute a great fight with Australia after the safety car returned. To see the Team in the points once again, in only our second A1GP event, is a satisfying achievement."