Taupo: Team Great Britain preview

New Zealand beckons A1 Team Great Britain Wednesday 17 January, 2007 - The 2006-07 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport reaches the halfway marker this weekend in New Zealand with Round 6 hosted at the all-new Taupo Motorsport Park, 19th-21st January. ...

New Zealand beckons A1 Team Great Britain

Wednesday 17 January, 2007 - The 2006-07 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport reaches the halfway marker this weekend in New Zealand with Round 6 hosted at the all-new Taupo Motorsport Park, 19th-21st January. A1 Team Great Britain heads down-under looking to close the gap to current A1GP leaders A1 Team Germany, the distance between the top two nations increasing to 12 points (48-36) following the British team's disappointing Feature race retirement in Indonesia last month, their first of the season.

Taupo offers a clean-slate for the A1GP field with Sunday's races the first to be held on the 2.17-mile, 13-turn track on New Zealand's North Island. Recently homologated to the FIA's Grade 2 standard, the anti-clockwise layout looks set to test the 23 competing nations with A1 Team New Zealand arriving on home soil triumphant following Jonny Reid's sweep of the top step of the podium last time out in Round 5.

Great Britain's challenge down-under will again be spearheaded by former British F3 Champion Robbie Kerr. For the first time this season the British car will be absent from Friday morning's hour-long rookie-only session with Oliver Jarvis unavailable due to his forthcoming commitments in the All-Japan F3 Series. Kerr, with consecutive podium finishes to his credit for A1 Team GBR in Malaysia and Indonesia, is unfazed by the fact that some teams will benefit from the extra track time due to the rookie session.

"For sure everyone wants to get as much track time as possible at a new circuit," Kerr commented. "The bottom line is that in New Zealand we're simply not in a situation to benefit from the rookie session so we'll just have to gain as much as we can from Friday afternoon's official practice and get our heads down ahead of Saturday's qualifying runs."

He continued, "It's always exciting to be running at a completely new circuit and Taupo looks like it should be a lot of fun. The New Zealanders appreciate their motorsport and there should be a fantastic atmosphere this weekend following the home team's success in Indonesia. We had a bit of a mixed bag in Sentul with a Sprint race podium and fastest lap but our Feature race retirement hurt our pursuit of Germany at the top of the Nations Standings. I'll be keen to make up some lost ground in New Zealand and hopefully carry that momentum into the next round in Australia."

A1 Team Great Britain Team Principal John Surtees is aware of the challenges that lie ahead this weekend in New Zealand. "Obviously there's an element of the unknown racing at Taupo," said the former F1 World Champion. "We had originally considered running Oliver (Jarvis) for this event to benefit from his rookie status and the extra track time that would have afforded us but in Robbie and our engineers we have a squad more than capable of overcoming that hurdle and maintaining the competitive edge that's put us firmly in the title fight for the second straight season of A1GP."

Sunday's Sprint race starts at 11am at Taupo (10pm GMT Saturday 20th January) with the Feature starting at 3pm local time (2am GMT Sunday 21st January). Sky Sports 3 will broadcast all the action from New Zealand on Sunday 21st January - please check www.skysports.com for further details.

-credit: team gbr

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Series A1GP
Drivers Robbie Kerr , Oliver Jarvis , John Surtees , Jonny Reid