Zandvoort: Team France race report

A1 France leaves Zandvoort with one podium Nicolas Lapierre, 22, claimed third place in the short 12-lap Sprint Race of the opening round of the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport at Zandvoort which gave A1 France their first four points of the season.

A1 France leaves Zandvoort with one podium

Nicolas Lapierre, 22, claimed third place in the short 12-lap Sprint Race of the opening round of the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport at Zandvoort which gave A1 France their first four points of the season. Starting third on the grid, he maintained his position until the chequered flag.

The position on the grid for the Feature Race being a combination of the competitor's grid position for the Sprint Race, the competitor's final position of the Sprint Race and the fastest lap in the Sprint Race meant that A1 France had to start from the 3rd position. Lapierre had a terrific start and gained one place. After one lap, Team Mexico went too wide in a corner and Lapierre took the opportunity to take the lead of the race. With the weather being so uncertain, some teams pitted at the beginning of the allowed pit-stop window but France waited till the end of that window and this turned out to be right time as the rain was falling down. The car was very efficient in dry conditions but did not go so well in the wet. However by stopping at the right moment to change slick tyres, one lap before Germany and if an unfortunate gearbox problem with 10 laps to go did not prevent them from finishing the race., France would have been able to win the race, as Germany did.

Nicolas Lapierre commented: "The start of the Sprint Race was quite hectic, as there was a lot of action, but it was all fair racing. I think I was a bit faster than Team Mexico but it is quite difficult to overtake especially as the track was still a bit wet. The most important thing was to finish well in that race in order to be in a good position for the Feature race."

"I had a good start in the Feature race and I think we had the best car. We had the right choice of strategy when we stopped to fit wet tyres. Then when we changed to the slicks, I started having problems with the gearbox losing the second, then third and finally the fourth gear. The car was impossible to drive so I went back to the box. It is really a pity as we would have had good chances to win the race this afternoon but this is part of racing." he added.

Jean-Paul Driot, team principal, A1 France added: "We are very disappointed with the result of the Feature Race as we had a gearbox problem which forced us to retire from the race. However, we are very satisfied as our car has been performing well the whole weekend. We had a very good strategy: we stopped at the right time to put the wet tyres, then we stopped again at the right time in the last 16 minutes to change into slicks and this, one lap before A1 Team Germany. This lap would have meant a lot as I think we could have won the race as, as we have seen, Team Germany has just won it. We leave Zandvoort tonight with a mixed feeling of satisfaction and disappointment."

A1 France is the first winner of the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport in 2005 and won in stunning manner, by taking 13 wins from 22 races and claiming three pole positions, five fastest race laps and 20 finishes in the points. In 2006, A1 France is one of 23 teams competing in the A1 GP World Cup of Motorsport.

-credit: team france

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Series A1GP
Drivers Nicolas Lapierre