Sepang: Wickens Set for Team Canada debu

Wickens Set for A1GP Race Debut in Malaysia A1 Team Canada is pleased to confirm that Robert Wickens will make his race debut in Round 3 of the 2007-08 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport, hosted at Malaysia's Sepang International Circuit, Friday...

Wickens Set for A1GP Race Debut in Malaysia

A1 Team Canada is pleased to confirm that Robert Wickens will make his race debut in Round 3 of the 2007-08 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport, hosted at Malaysia's Sepang International Circuit, Friday 23rd -- Sunday 25th November.

The 18-year-old rookie will become just the fourth driver in the history of A1GP to race for Canada, Wickens following in the footsteps of Quebec's Patrick Carpentier, British Columbia's Sean McIntosh -- to-date the only Canadian to have graced the top-step of an A1GP podium, and current team-mate and fellow Toronto-native James Hinchcliffe.

While Wickens will be behind the wheel of the 550bhp A1GP car throughout next weekend's event, starting with Friday's 'Rookie-Only' session at the 5.54km track, Hinchcliffe will also be present in Malaysia in support of the team having handled race duties through the opening two rounds of the new season in The Netherlands and the Czech Republic in September and October respectively.

The fact that the Sepang International Circuit, home of the Malaysian Grand Prix, will be new to Wickens shouldn't prove to be an issue for the 2006 Formula BMW USA Champion. Making his A1GP weekend debut last time out in the Czech Republic, participating in the 'Rookie-Only' practice session before handing over to Hinchcliffe, Wickens showed he was a quick learner and duly steered Canada to the top of the timesheets in the second half of the session.

A winner on his way to third overall in his rookie season in the Champ Car Atlantic Championship this year and with a pair of impressive points-scoring starts in the World Series by Renault last month, the teenage stand-out is targeting points in his first competitive A1GP outing.

"First off I have to thank the team for giving me the opportunity to race so early in the season," commented Wickens. "I'm ecstatic to be making my race debut for A1 Team Canada but I'll head into the weekend like any other and hopefully with a pair of strong performances in the Sprint and Feature races we'll open our points account for the season."

He continued, "It's quite easy to find the limit of the A1GP car fast, especially with the use of tire warmers, you can really push immediately on track so I don't think my lack of seat time will be an issue. I think our package should be stronger in Malaysia as well thanks to the gap in the schedule. I'm sure everyone's been busy studying all the data from the first couple of races and with time to digest that information I'm confident that we'll enjoy a competitive outing at Sepang."

Simon Cayzer, Canada's Team Manager, is similarly looking ahead to Robert's first full A1GP race meeting. "Robert was certainly impressive in the Brno rookie session," stated Cayzer. "Considering he had limited time in the car and didn't know the circuit he acquitted himself extremely well, especially in comparison to someone like Adam Carroll who was in a car with a similar set-up -- a fact we know as we work together on engineering with A1 Team Ireland. It'll be good to work with Robert for a whole weekend. We don't feel our results to-date have been a true reflection of where the team's at so we're going to Malaysia intent on scoring two top-ten finishes. We've re-grouped since the last event, made some changes and we're feeling very positive heading into the next leg of competition."

-credit: a1teamcan.com

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