McIntosh secures fifth-row grid slot for Indonesian Sprint
Saturday 09 December, 2006 -- Sean McIntosh secured a fifth-row grid slot for A1 Team Canada on Saturday with a ninth place effort in qualifying ahead of Sunday's fifth round of the 2006-07 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport, hosted at the Sentul International Circuit in Indonesia.
Returning to the 4.12km track where he scored Canada's only A1GP victory to-date with a stunning last-to-first drive back in February, McIntosh was again a front-runner in qualifying holding a top-ten position throughout the session. Battling the heat and humidity, as well as 20 rival nations for the pole, Sean's first qualifying lap, a 1m17.344s, saw him up into ninth place.
Slower on his second run, this time on old rubber, the 21-year-old from Vancouver slapped on a new set of Cooper tires for his third outing, posting a flying 1m17.274s -- the sixth fastest lap of the third sector. Sean's first and third laps would ultimately be used to set his aggregate qualifying time, 2m34.608s as he was later penalized by A1GP stewards, with the subsequent exclusion of his fourth sector lap time, for allegedly blocking A1 Team Brazil's Tuka Rocha exiting the pits.
Rocha had in turn blocked the Canadian on his final, potentially faster run, but McIntosh's penalty would negate his fourth lap irrespective of time although he held onto ninth on the grid for Sunday's Sprint race, the results of which then determine the starting order for the Feature race. New Zealand's Jonny Reid snatched P1 from last season's Indonesian pole-sitter, Great Britain's Robbie Kerr, in the dying stages of a thrilling qualifying session.
"It wasn't the best qualifying performance,' stated McIntosh afterwards. "I thought our pace in practice on old tires was going to convert into a better grid slot but it wasn't the case. We didn't start from the front last season when we won and we know we have a good, consistent race car here. If I can maximize that fact then I'm sure we can have another productive Sunday afternoon at Sentul."
Sunday's Sprint race starts at 11am local time (11pm EST Saturday) with the Feature race now starting at 2:30pm in Indonesia (2:30am EST Sunday), 30-minutes earlier than originally scheduled in an attempt to avoid the afternoon monsoon rains. SPEED Channel televises the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport in Canada with Round 5 from Indonesia set for broadcast on Wednesday 3rd January 2007 at 4pm EST -- for a full program schedule please log on to: www.speedtv.com/schedule