Sentul: Team Canada preview

McIntosh looking to build momentum for Indonesian double Wednesday 06 December, 2006 -- Indonesia's Sentul International Circuit plays host to Round 5 of the 2006-07 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport this weekend, Friday 8th -- Sunday 10th December,...

McIntosh looking to build momentum for Indonesian double

Wednesday 06 December, 2006 -- Indonesia's Sentul International Circuit plays host to Round 5 of the 2006-07 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport this weekend, Friday 8th -- Sunday 10th December, with A1 Team Canada returning as defending Feature race champions following Sean McIntosh's stunning drive to victory there last season.

The 21-year-old from Vancouver will be back behind the wheel of Canada's 550bhp A1GP car for Sunday's Sprint and Feature races at the 4.12km Sentul facility while Toronto's James Hinchcliffe, who celebrated his 20th birthday in Indonesia on Tuesday, will participate in Friday morning's rookie-only practice session.

McIntosh put on what was undoubtedly one of the drives of the inaugural season of A1GP back in February when the nation versus nation open-wheel racing series first visited Sentul, located 42km outside of Indonesia's capital city of Jakarta, for Round 8. Making his final start for Canada before handing over to Champ Car veteran Patrick Carpentier for the three remaining rounds of the 2005-06 season, Sean capped his rookie year in A1GP with a maiden Feature race victory.

Having crashed out on the first lap of the Sprint event, McIntosh drove the race of his life in the Feature as he started last on the 23-car grid to come through an hour later to take the checkered flag in first place, the Formula Renault graduate remarkably overcoming a drive-through penalty in the process!

Sean's performance, helped by an excellent race strategy and some slick work in the pits from the Canadian crew, cemented his status as one of A1GP's leading young talents and rewarded A1 Team Canada with its first ever victory, at the time becoming only the fifth nation to savor the top-step of the podium. The Indonesian win ultimately helped Canada to a tenth place finish in the final 2005-06 A1GP Nations Standings, a terrific achievement for a team that came together just ten days prior to the start of the season.

Heading into this weekend's return trip to Sentul, Canada sits sixth overall in the Nations Standings, on 22 points, with James Hinchcliffe turning in some impressive rookie performances to score in the Czech Republic, including a second-place Sprint podium, and China before Sean McIntosh returned to A1GP for the first time this season with a fifth place Feature finish in Round 4 in Malaysia.

"I'm obviously keen to return to Indonesia as it holds some pretty good memories for me," McIntosh commented. "I'm certainly looking to qualify better than I did in Malaysia a couple of weeks ago when I didn't get the best out of my first set of tires but overall it was good to get a full race weekend behind me and take a top-five from the Feature. I enjoy racing at Sentul, there's a bit of variety on the track with the chicanes and hairpins and I proved last year that it's possible to overtake as well."

James Hinchcliffe is keen to sample Sentul for himself. "I'm looking forward to running there on Friday morning," he stated. "The track looks quite cool and I love learning new circuits. Obviously A1 Team Canada has a bit of a history there and I'll be doing my bit for the team in the rookie-only session to help find a set-up that we can use to go for the Indonesia double!"

-credit: www.a1teamcan.com

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Series A1GP
Drivers Patrick Carpentier , Sean McIntosh , James Hinchcliffe