Chinese Challenge Beckons Wickens and Morad Montreal, Canada -- China's Shanghai International Circuit plays host to Round 9 of the 2007-08 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport this weekend, Friday 11th -- Sunday 13th April - the penultimate round of...
Chinese Challenge Beckons Wickens and Morad
Montreal, Canada -- China's Shanghai International Circuit plays host to Round 9 of the 2007-08 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport this weekend, Friday 11th -- Sunday 13th April - the penultimate round of the nation versus nation series, with A1 Team Canada once again fielding Markham's Daniel Morad and Toronto's Robert Wickens.
Morad, in addition to making his third straight appearance in Friday morning's 'Rookie-Only' session, looks set for some extra seat time participating in the first official practice session later that day. The 17-year-old reigning Formula BMW USA Champion will undertake the afternoon's hour-long session at the 4.6km track, home of the Chinese Grand Prix, with Robert Wickens due to land in China that same day following a flight from Europe.
Wickens, in his final A1GP outing, will head directly to China following three days of testing in Spain in the World Series by Renault entry he'll campaign throughout the regular season. The 19-year-old, a member of the Red Bull Junior Team, will again qualify and race for A1 Team Canada in Shanghai having steered his way to one win, four podiums, two poles and seven top-ten finishes in his rookie A1GP year -- leading Canada to ninth in the current A1GP Nations Standings.
"I'm really excited to get the opportunity to drive on another Formula One circuit," said Wickens ahead of a busy few days of testing, traveling and racing. "I'm not worried about missing out on track time as I'll still have an hour of practice on the Saturday morning before qualifying and to be honest, if you can't learn a track in that time you shouldn't be in a series like A1GP! I've also learned through being with Red Bull that the fitter you are, the easier it is to adapt to time zone changes so the traveling this week doesn't faze me. It helps that I'm extremely comfortable with the team, we all gelled right from the start and Simon (Cayzer) and Matt (Greasley) do an awesome job engineering the car."
Daniel Morad is similarly excited at the prospect of sampling a current F1 circuit; "I know before I even get there that the circuit's going to be great and knowing this time out I'll be getting an extra session is even better. I'll be working to make sure we give Robbie a decent set-up for Saturday when he takes over. It'll be a little strange as I have to head back to the U.S. before Sunday's races due to my Atlantic Championship commitments but that's all part of the job, I'm looking forward to it all!"
This weekend's trip to the Shanghai International Circuit, located in the Jiading District of Shanghai, marks the third time A1GP has visited the Formula One facility and in turn Robert will be the third different driver to race for Canada there following starts by Quebec's Patrick Carpentier in the 05-06 season and British Columbia's Sean McIntosh in the 06-07 season. McIntosh's sixth place Feature finish last year is currently the best result for the Canadian team in Shanghai, a marker Wickens will no doubt be keen to improve upon in his final outing of what's been an impressive A1GP campaign.
Sunday's 20-minute Sprint race starts at 11am local time (10pm EST Saturday 12th April) with the 70-minute Feature race starting at 3pm in Shanghai (2am EST Sunday 13th April).
Setanta Sports Canada will broadcast Round 8 from China as a tape-delay starting at 8am EST on Monday 14th April