No luck for the Irish on the streets of Durban Durban, South Africa, 24th February 2008: Adam Carroll finished 15th for Belmayne A1 Team Ireland in two eventful races which both ended with red flags on the challenging streets of Durban. After...
No luck for the Irish on the streets of Durban
Durban, South Africa, 24th February 2008: Adam Carroll finished 15th for Belmayne A1 Team Ireland in two eventful races which both ended with red flags on the challenging streets of Durban.
After a fuel pressure problem hindered qualifying, Ireland failed to post a time leaving them to start from the back of the grid in 22nd alongside home nation South Africa who also had problems on Saturday.
Adam made a clean start and managed to capitalize on mistakes by those ahead moving up to 16th by the end of the first lap. He then kept his head down chasing Italy around the 3.3-kilometre street circuit, making up a further position when Brazil dropped down the order with a broken front wing. On lap seven, he went back to 16th as South Africa's Adrian Zaugg got through on the inside at Turn 1 before the safety car came out on lap 13 as Brazil crashed out.
Up at the front Canada controlled the re-start with only three laps left to run. Adam made a move to pass Italy into Turn 1 before passing USA when Jonathan Summerton missed the chicane. As Germany and the Netherlands crashed out Adam was provisionally in 12th until the red flag came out, with the result being declared from the previous lap, putting Ireland 15th after Germany were excluded for causing the incident.
Ireland were 13th on the grid for the Feature race with Adam making a great start avoiding the incident at Turn 1 and getting up to P10 as the safety car was deployed. On the re-start, Adam made another good start but was unfortunately run into by Australia and ended in the wall at Turn 1 breaking the steering and front wing. Another safety car period followed but as the marshals struggled to get Adam going again, by the time the car had recovered to the pits and the mechanics had made repairs, he was P19 and three laps down. With over half the race left to run Adam pushed on hoping to gain at least a point for the team's efforts.
On lap 19 however, the team received a drive through penalty for a pit stop infringement but with further retirements ahead Adam was now running P16. On lap 36 Adam radioed in as his steering wheel had come loose following the earlier incident so during the second mandatory pit stop the team spent some more time checking over the car and repairing the wheel before getting him back out on track, now 6 laps down.
Only a few laps later and the safety car was out yet again as Canada and Great Britain collided at Turn 1. The race restarted on lap 43 with Adam making another great start, avoiding a further incident occurring at the Turn 1 hairpin when South Africa made an over ambitious move down the inside. Ireland were up to P10 and in the points but as the red flag came out the results went back a lap once again, leaving Ireland 15th.
The team is now ninth in the championship after an unlucky weekend of racing.
Adam Carroll: "The main thing was we kept the car in one piece for the Feature race. Starting in 22nd is always hard and it's very difficult to overtake around here but we still made up a few places. Twelfth would have been ok but the red flag pushed us back a lap to 16th.
"I got a good start in the Feature and made up a few places to 10th. There was a bit of shunt in front so I went wide and as I was going round I thought I was out of trouble then all of a sudden I got hit from behind which put me straight into the tyre wall. The marshals couldn't re-start me because they were so tired from starting all the other cars earlier on; they just couldn't run fast enough so I had to get some other marshals over to help. The impact had ripped the steering wheel out my hand and I actually thought I'd broken my thumb at the time but it seems to be ok. The steering wheel was getting looser though so when we stopped to get new tyres we tightened it back up. Through the second stint our lap times were pretty much the same as the leaders and I was just pushing as hard as I could.
"I'm glad I finished the race and have the experience on the track. You always have to look the positives from the weekend, it's valuable experience for both me and the team and when we come back here next year with a different car it will be a different story."
Dan Walmsley, Race Engineer: "The key thing from this morning was to make sure we got some good running and managed to complete the full race distance so we could understand what the balance of the chassis was going to be going into the Feature where we're starting in a better position. We've got some good information now to move forward for this afternoon. Unfortunately the nature of the circuit meant we weren't going be able to pass many people so P12 on track was a good result.
"We worked so hard to get the car competitive and Adam fought hard to get us up into the points by the end of lap one in the Feature race. Then on the restart Adam made a great move around Australia who unfortunately made a mistake and ran into us which broke the steering and front wing. It took us three laps to get the car going again but we decided to carry on incase others dropped out. Towards the end we put new tyres on the car in an attempt to go for fastest lap as we knew we had the pace, but sadly as soon as we left the pits the safety car came out again and then race was red flagged. Its disappointing but encouraging knowing that the pace in the car isn't reflected by the result. We are looking forward to Mexico where we hope to finally put right what seems to be going wrong."
Mark Gallagher, Team Principal: "Two pointless weekends for Ireland and there is really no excuse - the team we set up for Ireland brought Team Canada victory this morning and it's only in Ireland that we continue to fail to deliver. I have a strong opinion after three seasons why that is the case, but in Adam Carroll we have a world-class driver and I believe our engineering is very capable too Today's race also showed that A1GP need to take a hard line with some of the drivers who frankly have left their brains behind when racing on a track like Durban. It's not rocket science to be more careful on a street circuit but the behaviour of drivers for teams such as Germany today shows that there are still drivers who arrive at a street and drive without any degree of intelligence."
Round 8 of the 2007-08 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport will be in Mexico City, Mexico, on 14 - 16 March 2008.