Czechs raring to go
New driver, new livery new hope. The A1GP Team Czech Republic enter the third season of the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport at Zandvoort with determination to do better than in the previous seasons. Erik Janis has been nominated as the lead driver and the Czech car has got a new livery that was chosen in the public competition that was won by Radovan Horsky.
The team lead by Antonin Charouz celebrated the biggest success so far in China 2006 where they won the Feature race and last year took silver at Brno. Tomas Enge was the driver who got both results. The most successful Czech driver has left the seat to Erik Janis this season. He was racing almost all the time, from January to December, in the last two years and his injured elbow in the crash at St. Pete's ALMS race still causing few troubles. He simply needs a break.
"I obviously keep fingers crossed for Erik. He is very promising driver. However, I am also saying that we have to be patient. It will take some time before Erik finds his way in the tough competition," says Enge. "I am honestly very happy that I will have a quite winter. I need a break to relax and recharge batteries for next year. I will be on hand to help Erik. We are going with his brother Jarek to Zandvoort and we will help him also during the course of the season."
Enge is together with Jarek Janis on the bench of the Czech team as possible substitutes. Erik's older brother also has injury and has been recovering after a big crash at Spa that cause back contusion. Before he will regain full fitness he has got a new position as a driver coach. "This is probably overstatement. I have been looking after my younger brother for years and whenever I can I pass my experience. Moreover, I can not wait to be fully fit again and get back to racing. I am not going to change my profession to coach," says Jarek Janis.
Jan Charouz has been nominated for Rookie category. He has been competing in the Le Mans Series this year. His racing activities are a bit limited by his studies at the City University of London. Filip Salaquarda, F3 Euroseries driver, is also on the list of the Czech team.
Seatholder Antonin Charouz admitted during the press conference on Wednesday, that took at famous Wenceslaw square in the centre of Prague and was dedicated to official presentation of the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport Season 2006/07 book, possibility of Enge racing at Brno. Masaryk Circuit hosts the second round of the A1GP on October 12th-14th.
"Tomas would race only if he is fully fit," mentions Charouz. "Erik could do the rookie session to get experience and Tom would try to get a superb result in the race. He has got so much experience and should handle better the pressure of the home race. However, as I am saying, it is possible only if his arm is one hundred percent okay."
Erik Janis: "I am very happy that I have got such opportunity. However, the beginning is not going to be easy especially due to the fact that my experience with the car is quite limited. Anyway, I want to prove that it was not a bad choice. I had been hungry for a good singleseater drive and my nomination for the Czech team fulfilled my dream. I am delighted. I am also aware of big responsibility that I will have. I will do my best to not disappoint. I will be learning at the beginning of the season because I have never raced such powerful car. I hope to get fully used to it as quickly as possible. The championship has a good reputation and it is a real challenge for me. I was improving all the time during the preseason tests and I hope that I will continue this trend also during race weekends."
Antonin Charouz, Seatholder: "I have no doubts about Erik's speed and qualities. I am happy that I was able to give him the chance to be the lead driver of the Czech team. He has an advantage that he can participate in the first four events also in the rookie practices, so he can do more laps over the weekend. The rest of the rookie sessions will do my son Jan. Tomas Enge, Jarek Janis and Filip Salaquarda has been nominated as reserve drivers. Our decision was not related to their performances. They need to rest, especially Tomas has got enormous number of races under his belt including both previous seasons of the A1GP."
-credit: team czech