Zhuhai: Team Canada preview

Wickens to Lead Canada's Chinese Charge Toronto's Robert Wickens will once again lead A1 Team Canada's charge as Round 4 of the 2007-08 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport heads to pastures new and the introduction of China's Zhuhai International...

Wickens to Lead Canada's Chinese Charge

Toronto's Robert Wickens will once again lead A1 Team Canada's charge as Round 4 of the 2007-08 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport heads to pastures new and the introduction of China's Zhuhai International Circuit to the schedule this weekend, Friday 14th -- Sunday 16th December.

Following a stellar race debut last time out in Malaysia, where Wickens scored Canada's first podium and points of the season courtesy of a third place Sprint finish, the 18-year-old will remain behind the wheel with the team looking to build momentum in China before heading into the Christmas break. With the 4.3km Zhuhai track debuting on the A1GP schedule, the first of two rounds hosted in China, Robert's rookie status will further benefit Canada as the 2006 Formula BMW USA Champion is eligible to run in Friday morning's 'Rookie-Only' session with 50-minutes extra track time.

As in Malaysia, James Hinchcliffe will again accompany the team, the 21-year-old's experience behind the wheel of the 550bhp A1GP car, in which he has 18 career starts to-date, invaluable as Canada looks to crack the top-ten in the A1GP Nations Standings from its current 12th place foot-hold. Hinchcliffe led laps for the Canadian entry at the corresponding round last season in China, the races on that occasion situated on a tight, challenging street circuit in the capital city of Beijing.

Wickens is similarly eager to run at the front of the pack and is looking forward to sampling the Zhuhai International Circuit, situated on China's South Coast not far from Macau and Hong Kong.

"It seems like it's a pretty fast track," stated the teenager. "Obviously I don't know too much about it having never raced there but it looks like it's got some fast corners and in particular the last one leading onto the start-finish straight. We've all got plenty of practice time over the weekend so the fact that none of us have raced there before won't be a factor as you can pick up the characteristics of a track pretty quickly. Hopefully we'll get the results the team deserves. Malaysia went well for us, we scored points and reached the podium so hopefully we can build on that and stay consistent!"

Team Manager Simon Cayzer echoed Wickens' thoughts; "We had a good weekend in Malaysia so we want to keep building on that momentum. We've never raced at Zhuhai but, although it's a new circuit for everyone, it's still going into the unknown so we've done a lot of work since the last race on simulations and finding out as much about the circuit as possible before we arrive. It'll be really interesting as it puts everyone on a level playing field and I'm keen to see where we are in comparison. We're still not quite where we want to be, which is right with the front-runners, but we're moving in the right direction and we'll be pushing really hard to get there this weekend."

Sunday's 20-minute Sprint race starts at 11am local time (10pm EST Saturday 15th December) with the 70-minute Feature race starting at 3pm in China (2am EST Sunday 16th December).

SPEED will air Round 4 as a tape-delay on Thursday 27th December at Noon EST

-credit: a1teamcan.com

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Series A1GP
Drivers James Hinchcliffe