Durban: Team Brazil preview

Junqueira to make debut for revamped A1 Team Brasil on the streets of Durban A1 Team Brasil is delighted to announce that Champ Car veteran and street race star Bruno Junqueira will join the squad to lead the charge at this weekend's Durban...

Junqueira to make debut for revamped A1 Team Brasil on the streets of Durban

A1 Team Brasil is delighted to announce that Champ Car veteran and street race star Bruno Junqueira will join the squad to lead the charge at this weekend's Durban round of the 2006/07 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport in South Africa. Performing back-up duties for the team will be 18-year-old Luiz Razia, who will also have his first taster of the A1GP car when he steps into the cockpit for the rookie practice sessions on Friday. Along with this all-new driver line-up, the weekend will also see the debut of a brand new paint scheme for the Team Brasil car.

Bruno started racing go-karts in Brazil and dominated the South American Formula 3 championship before moving to Formula 3000. He tested for the Williams Formula 1 team for two years, and came close to landing a race drive in 2000, losing out to Jenson Button. He rebounded from this setback, winning that year's International Formula 3000 Championship.

In 2001 Bruno joined the Champ Car World Series driving for Chip Ganassi, and has raced in Champ Car ever since, joining Newman-Haas in 2003 when Ganassi moved to the IRL series. Bruno is a top driver in the series, and is known for his consistency. He finished second in the championship standings for three years in a row, from 2002-2004. He is the first driver since Bobby Rahal to win races in each of his first five years in Champ Car.

Bruno has competed in the Indianapolis 500 four times. In 2002, he qualified for the pole position, and he has twice finished 5th in the race. In 2005, Bruno was injured in an accident in the Indianapolis 500. Due to his injuries, he missed the remainder of the 2005 Champ Car season. Junqueira was the series' points leader at the time, having won the second race of the year in Monterrey, Mexico. The 30-year-old returned to Champ Car for 2006, once again with the Newman-Haas team, scoring nine points-scoring finishes and stepping on the podium three times.

Luiz Razia first joined A1 Team Brasil at the series' last outing at Eastern Creek, Australia, taking the reserve driver role. However, this time out will see him driving the car for the first time in Friday morning's rookie practices, as the team will take advantage of maximising its time on track. Bruno will then take over driving duties for the remaining practice sessions, qualifying, and Sunday's sprint and feature races.

The Durban street circuit was designed for A1GP and held its inaugural race in January 2006. It is a tight, twisting, 3.28km track running close to Durban city centre, and A1 Team Brasil currently holds the lap record on the tricky circuit, with a time of 1:18.178, recorded by Nelson Piquet Jr. With the event held to a capacity crowd of over 100,000 fans last year, 2007 looks set to be another highly successful race for A1GP.

Emerson Fittipaldi, Team Principal: "I am very happy that we have signed Bruno to race in Durban. He's focused, successful, determined to do well and very experienced on street circuits because of his Champ Car career. His track record is incredible so I think he is going to be a new strength for the Brasil team and I am very optimistic about the weekend. We are still providing opportunities for the young guys though, and Luiz Razia will drive in the rookie testing on Friday morning. I am very happy with the way our new engineer is working out and I am happy with Tuka and Raphael, but I think now we need someone experienced on this kind of circuit to see how we can run."

Bruno Junqueira: "I originally spoke to the team at the start of this season, when I was just starting to drive again after my accident, so now I'm very happy to be joining the team and the series, it's a great feeling to be representing Brasil. I think the series is really good and I have some friends that race there and really enjoy it, so I can't wait to get in the car. In the US, where I've raced for many years, I race on a lot of street tracks so I am used to the kind of challenge that we will face in Durban. Even back when I raced in Europe in F3000 I always enjoyed the street tracks, in fact I won the Monaco race in 2000, so I am sure I will be very comfortable this weekend. Durban is a track that some of the drivers have experience of from last year, but I know that Team Brasil had a strong car last year, so I am looking forward to doing well."

Luiz Razia: "I was really happy to join A1 Team Brasil in Australia for the first time. The series is very well organised and competitive and I immediately felt at home with the series and the people in the team. I'm very happy that I can come back to the team and take part in the Durban race. I will be getting to know the car and the track, because everything is new for me, and try to help Bruno as much as possible. I've driven on several street tracks in Brazil, so hopefully that will help me."

-credit: team brazil

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About this article
Series A1GP
Drivers Jenson Button , Bruno Junqueira , Bobby Rahal , Nelson Piquet , Emerson Fittipaldi , Chip Ganassi , Luiz Razia
Teams Williams