A1 Team Germany still commanding championship leader
Ninth place at the ninth round of the A1 GP World Cup of Motorsports was sufficient to see Willi Weber's A1 Team Germany defend its commanding 27 point lead at the head of the standings despite Christian Vietoris being involved in an accident during the Mexican race. The 17-year old German from Gonnersdorf in the Eifel was deprived of reaping the reward for his excellent qualifying performance after being forced to retire in the sprint race when his car sustained damage after two competitors collided. In the main race he stormed through the field from 21st to ninth.
Christian Vietoris marked his race weekend, during which he qualified and competed in both races for the first time for A1 Team Germany, with an excellent performance. The "star of tomorrow" claimed second position on the grid in qualifying. However, starting from the front row in the sprint race turned out to be chaotic. Salvador Duran of A1 Team Mexico collided with the Brazilian Bruno Junqueira whose car cannoned into Christian Vietoris' race car -- both the German and Brazilian cars retired. The David Sears Motorsport squad changed the right-hand rear suspension, a driveshaft and various aerodynamic components and the bodywork on the A1 GP car during the break between the two races.
Christian Vietoris was involved in many breathtaking wheel to wheel fights and overtook several cars from 21st on the grid in the feature race. A1 Team Germany had already taken 16th position when several competitors opened the first round of pit-stops on lap nine. Christian Vietoris stopped to make his mandatory tyre change one lap later. All the remaining teams had made their compulsory pit stops by lap 19. The German team occupied ninth position afterwards. The debutant in the cockpit maintained this position to the chequered flag and, in doing so, collected two points for the team. A1 Team New Zealand, closest rival to championship leader Germany, finished sixth, reducing the gap from 30 to 27 points in the process. Up to 34 points are up for grabs on the remaining two race weekends.
"I didn't make a good enough start in the sprint race and dropped to third when the accident in which I was involved occurred. It was a great shame because otherwise I could have fought for a podium finish. In the main race I started moving up through the field, during which I frequently used the PowerBoost-Button, with which the power increases from 520 to 550 hp. I missed a braking point 17 laps before the finish and flat-spotted a tyre which caused a big vibration. In view of our starting position I'm not satisfied with the race result. I'd like to take this opportunity to thank the team for helping me leapfrog a few rivals as a result of the excellent pit stop."
"Everybody was delighted with Christian's fantastic performance in qualifying, which is the reason why it was so disappointing to see him retire on the first lap of the sprint race for no reason of his own. The team was penalised twice as hard: There were no points from the sprint and the starting position in the main race was the worst imaginable. Christian performed a damage limitation exercise for us and scythed through the field from 21st to ninth position. Even though he would have preferred to score more points this was nevertheless a remarkable performance for somebody competing in his first race in an A1 GP car. Christian will have ample opportunity next season to show exactly what he is capable of."
13 to 15 April 2007, Shanghai (PR China)
-credit: team germany