Sepang: Team Canada race report

Canada's McIntosh scores top-five Feature finish in Malaysia Sunday 26 November, 2006 -- Vancouver's Sean McIntosh enjoyed a competitive return to racing with A1 Team Canada Sunday as he scored a fifth place points-paying finish in the Feature...

Canada's McIntosh scores top-five Feature finish in Malaysia

Sunday 26 November, 2006 -- Vancouver's Sean McIntosh enjoyed a competitive return to racing with A1 Team Canada Sunday as he scored a fifth place points-paying finish in the Feature race at the Sepang International Circuit, Malaysia in Round 4 of the 2006-07 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport. The 21-year-old's Feature result, which followed an eighth place Sprint race finish in the morning, helped solidify Canada's sixth place hold in the A1GP Nations Standings with a third of the sophomore season completed.

Back in A1GP action for the first time since leading Canada to victory in Indonesia last season, McIntosh was quickly into the swing of the weekend having assumed driving duties in Malaysia from the team's rookie standout, Toronto's James Hinchcliffe. Armed with track experience from last year's A1GP round at Sepang, Sean qualified the Canadian entry ninth on the 22-car grid for Sunday's Sprint race, later to be promoted to eighth following the exclusion of South Africa's fastest lap.

Boxed in at the start of the 10-lap Sprint race, McIntosh lost position but his pace was sufficient enough to gain it back, passing USA, China and Mexico as the pack funneled through the sweeping 5.54km, 15-turn Sepang International Circuit on the opening laps. With finishing positions in the Sprint race forming the grid for the Feature, the action at the front proved limited as the pack opted to preserve their entries. McIntosh, having diced wheel-to-wheel with the Dutch entry for seventh, took the checkered in eighth, just two places short of a points finish. Pole-winner Neel Jani, driving for A1 Team Switzerland, celebrated the Sprint victory, the team's first of the season, with Germany's Nico Hulkenberg second and New Zealand's Jonny Reid third.

Malaysia's monsoon rains made an unwelcome appearance in the hour leading up the 70-minute Feature race, forcing a delayed start and the eventual appearance of the safety car to lead the field round the treacherously wet circuit. With his visibility severely restricted thanks to the volume of spray being thrown at him from the car's ahead, Sean's progress in the early stages of the race was somewhat restricted but as conditions improved the Canadian began his top-five charge.

In quick succession McIntosh reeled off a series of passing moves with the Dutch, Malaysian and New Zealand entries all falling victims to his prowess before he darted to the pits to make his mandatory pit stop. Slick work from the Canadian team fired Sean back on track and up into fourth ahead of French racer Nicolas Lapierre. A shift in the car's balance, probably brought on by the drying track, brought a halt to Canada's rise and ultimately allowed Lapierre to pass for position.

Despite the handling issues Sean held on to take fifth on his return and six more championship points, McIntosh adding to the 16 scored for Canada by Hinchcliffe from the previous rounds in the Czech Republic and China. Nico Hulkenberg scored Germany's second Feature win of the year with Great Britain's Robbie Kerr and France's Lapierre completing the Malaysian podium celebrations.

"I'm pretty pleased to come back into the team and score a top-five finish,' stated McIntosh. "I didn't want to risk too much in the Sprint then at the start of the Feature I literally couldn't see anything for the first six laps. I got going though, made some moves then the guys delivered for me once again with a great pit-stop. The balance changed after that I had really just had to concentrate on brining it home!"

Round 5 of the 2006-07 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport takes place in two weeks time, Friday 8th -- Sunday 10th December, at the Sentul International Circuit, Indonesia -- www.a1gp.com

-credit: team canada

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About this article
Series A1GP
Drivers Robbie Kerr , Neel Jani , Sean McIntosh , Nicolas Lapierre , James Hinchcliffe , Jonny Reid , Nico Hulkenberg