Eastern Creek: Team Canada preview

Wickens Back for Canada Down-Under Robert Wickens will aim to break Canada into the top-ten of the A1GP Nations Standings this weekend as the Toronto-born racer heads back down-under for Round 6 of the 2007-08 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport season...

Wickens Back for Canada Down-Under

Robert Wickens will aim to break Canada into the top-ten of the A1GP Nations Standings this weekend as the Toronto-born racer heads back down-under for Round 6 of the 2007-08 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport season hosted at Australia's Eastern Creek International Raceway, Friday 1st -- Sunday 3rd February.

The 18-year-old rookie steered A1 Team Canada to its highest placing of the season two weeks ago in New Zealand thanks to a sublime runner-up performance in Round 5's Feature race. Canada currently sits 12th overall on 22 points, just six markers shy of China in 10th place and all the indicators point to the team maintaining its recent form with Robert scoring two podiums in six race starts since his debut in November's third round in Malaysia.

As with all the tracks Wickens has visited since then, Australia's 3.93km Eastern Creek International Raceway is new to the 2006 Formula BMW USA Champion. Learning circuits has yet to prove to be an issue for the Canadian teen, evidenced by his performance last time out at Taupo Motorsports Park when Wickens topped the timesheets at the end of Friday morning's 'Rookie-Only' session.

Robert subsequently converted his early form into a pair of top-ten qualifying performances including fourth on the grid for the 50-lap Feature event, Canada's highest starting Feature slot since Round 3 of the 2006-07 A1GP season on the streets of Beijing, China. James Hinchcliffe was behind the wheel for Canada on that particular occasion as he was when A1GP visited Eastern Creek last January. A forgettable Sprint race was followed by a dramatic exit from the Feature on the opening lap. Contact from behind pitched Hinchcliffe into a spectacular barrel-roll, the Toronto-native eventually coming to a halt upside down in the gravel trap but thankfully emerging unscathed from the incident.

"I know Eastern Creek hasn't been too kind to A1 Team Canada in the past but I'm hoping we can change all that," stated Wickens ahead of his track debut. "I'm happy to get the chance to build on our momentum from Taupo and I see no reason why we can't have another strong weekend. We were unfortunate to miss out on two top-ten scores in New Zealand but if we can meet that objective in Australia then there's every chance we'll crack the top-ten in the Nations Standings. Canada's getting stronger with each race meeting and I think we're in for an exciting second half to the season."

A1 Team Canada Seat Holder Wade Cherwayko commented; "There's no doubt that we're presently one of the form teams in A1GP and I hope we can build on Robert's Feature podium from New Zealand. I believe with the pace and consistency recently showcased by Canada, we deserve to be amongst the top-ten nations in A1GP. I'm confident we'll get there, we're knocking on the door!"

Sunday's 20-minute Sprint race starts at 11am local time on Sunday (2pm EST Saturday 2nd February) with the 70-minute Feature race starting at 3pm in Australia (6pm EST Saturday 2nd February).

Setanta Sports Canada will broadcast Round 6 from Australia as a tape-delay starting at 8am EST on Monday 4th February.

-credit: a1teamcan.com

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Series A1GP
Drivers Robert Wickens