POINTS THE FOCUS FOR NEW ZEALAND A1GP DRIVER REID THIS WEEKEND Scoring points will be the primary focus for New Zealand racing driver Jonny Reid this weekend as he steps up for his second drive of the season in Team New Zealand's A1GP car at the...
POINTS THE FOCUS FOR NEW ZEALAND A1GP DRIVER REID THIS WEEKEND
Scoring points will be the primary focus for New Zealand racing driver Jonny Reid this weekend as he steps up for his second drive of the season in Team New Zealand's A1GP car at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia.
Reid, 23, was one of the pace-setters at the pre-season test at Silverstone in the UK in September and claimed A1Team.NZL's first pole position at the second round of the 2006/07 series at Brno in the Czech Republic last month.
However so far neither he nor fellow team A1Team.NZL driver Matt Halliday have been able to translate pace into podium placings or points.
At the first round at Zandvoort in The Netherlands Halliday qualified ninth then finished sixth in the sprint race and 11th in the feature. At Brno in the Czech Republic Reid set a new benchmark for A1Team.NZL by being quickest in practice and claiming pole position in qualifying, but the just-turned 23-year-old Aucklander was an early casualty of contact in the sprint race and finished seventh - after having to start at the back of the grid - in the feature.
The third round at Beijing's new street circuit earlier this month promised much, but teething troubles with the circuit, near the city's 2008 Olympic Games' stadium, meant that there was very little meaningful testing and qualifying time and both races were started behind the safety car.
In these circumstances survival was the main goal with team driver Matt Halliday crossing the line in 10th place in the sprint race and ninth in the feature.
The result is that heading into the fourth round at Sepang in Malaysia A1Team.NZL is in 14th position with just seven points, 17 less than early leaders Mexico (24) and 15 less than second placed Germany.
Hence Reid's primary focus on points.
"They're what will win us the title," he said this morning. "You've got to be quick, obviously, but there are so few points in it (six between first and sixth in the sprint race and 10 between first and tenth in the feature) that you have to be consistent and so far we haven't really been consistent. We've been making it difficult for ourselves and we are going to have to work really hard over the next two to three rounds to get ourselves back into the points game."
Though Reid has not raced on the 5.4km Sepang International Circuit he joined A1Team.NZL there last year when teammate Halliday was driving and has Friday's nominated test sessions to learn it.
Having been so quick in the car at Silverstone and the Czech Republic there will be a lot of interest in how he goes and Reid says he can see no reason why he can't be in a similar position in Malaysia.
"I know the car and I know the crew engineering it so I'm certainly confident that I've got the package to do the job."
"I'm also fortunate that this weekend I can be the nominated test driver on Friday so once I've learned by braking markers in the first 25 minute session I can start working on dialling the car in for qualifying and the sprint and feature races."
This season's A1 GP World Cup of Motorsport promises to be even bigger and better than last season's with every ticket sold for the first round at Zandvoort and a number of new and exciting venues, including New Zealand's Taupo Motorsport Park, which will host the sixth round of the 2006/07 series over the January 20/21 weekend.
New Zealand finished fourth overall in the 2006/07 championship with Halliday and Reid sharing the driving duties.
-credit: team new zealand