Taupo: Team Canada preview

Hinchcliffe Back for Canada and Heading Down-Under Wednesday 17 January, 2007 - Toronto's James Hinchcliffe returns to race duties for A1 Team Canada this weekend, 19th-21st January, as he gets set to compete against 22 rival nations in Round 6...

Hinchcliffe Back for Canada and Heading Down-Under

Wednesday 17 January, 2007 - Toronto's James Hinchcliffe returns to race duties for A1 Team Canada this weekend, 19th-21st January, as he gets set to compete against 22 rival nations in Round 6 of the 2006-07 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport hosted down-under at the brand-new Taupo Motorsport Park facility in New Zealand.

Having led Canada's charge in the opening three rounds of the winter-based, nation versus nation competition, the 20-year-old rookie watched team-mate Sean McIntosh pilot the 550bhp Canadian entry in Rounds 4 and 5 in Malaysia and Indonesia respectively to round out 2006.

While McIntosh (21) added to Hinchcliffe's points haul with a fine top-five drive in Malaysia in November, last month's return to Indonesia proved to be less favorable for the defending race champion from Vancouver - an errant left-rear tire forcing retirement in the Feature race and the team's first scoreless weekend since Round 1 in Holland last October.

Sitting eighth overall in the Nations Standings as the 12-round series reaches the halfway point in New Zealand, Hinchcliffe is keen to bolster the Canadian team's standing ahead of a second-half shot at the A1GP title. With a Sprint race podium to his credit (Round 2 - Czech Republic) and a total of 55 lead laps under his belt, James' performances have earmarked him as one of the series leading rookies and it's that status he hopes to use to his advantage at the 3.5km Taupo Motorsports Park.

Still eligible to compete in Friday morning's hour-long rookie-only session, A1 Team Canada hopes that the extra track time available to James will aid their learning process with the 13-turn, anti-clockwise layout an unknown quantity with the weekend's A1GP Sprint and Feature races the first to be held on the newly appointed FIA Grade 2 circuit.

Looking ahead to his first taste of racing down-under James commented, "I'm thrilled to be back racing the Canadian entry and can't wait to get going again in A1GP at Taupo."

He continued, "This is the last time I'll be eligible to run in the Friday morning rookie session as after that I'll have racked up more than six race starts but as it's a new circuit the extra track time will hopefully allow us to get ahead of the game, not least with the continuity of me staying in the car for the duration of the weekend. The home team might be starting as favorites given they won both races last time out in Indonesia but I'm confident we'll continue to challenge at the sharp end of the grid and hopefully get that first win of the season!"

Sunday's Sprint race starts at 11am local time (5pm EST Saturday 20th January) with the Feature race starting at 3pm in Taupo (9pm EST Saturday 20th January). SPEED will air all the action from Round 6 of the A1GP Series from New Zealand in Canada as a tape-delayed broadcast on Wednesday 24th January starting at 4pm EST - www.speedtv.com

-credit: team canada

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About this article
Series A1GP
Drivers Sean McIntosh , James Hinchcliffe