Czechs scored twice in China
The Czech A1GP enjoyed competitive and successful weekend in Zhuhai and scored points in both races. Tomas Enge fought hard to get fifth place in the Sprint race and eighth in the Feature race.
Zhuhai offered entertaining races with a lot of action and some unexpected twists. The Sprint race started with a hectic first lap. Enge timed his acceleration just right for the green light and got ahead of Oliver Jarvis to take fifth. Safety car was deployed after crashes in the midfield but the race was soon restarted and Enge had to defend his position. He did not put a foot wrong and was fifth under the flag.
While Czechs had a good position on the Sprint grid it was not the case for the Feature race. Enge started 16th and had to be on his toes at the first corner. As many drivers and observers predicted, tight first corner caused many contacts but the Czech car went through well. Enge was close to the top 10 after the first lap when Safety car had to be deployed again. The Lebanon's car was holding Enge for few laps after the first round of the pitstops but experienced Czech driver soon found a way and he was as high as eighth when the second stops approached. Smooth stop put some buffer to the chasing team USA and Czechs even moved to seventh. However, Enge was not able to hold on hard charging France delayed after their drive through penalty. The Czech car struggled with brakes at that time. Enge then paced himself safely to the finish where he was eighth.
The Czech team have a good reason to celebrate because they managed to score points in both races for the first since Brno's round in 2006. The total tally of the Czech team is 10 points now and the Czechs moved up to 14th place in the overall standings.
Tomas Enge: "It was better than I had expected! I am very happy with both races. My start in the Sprint was good and I was slightly ahead of the GB car but he dived to the inside at the first corner. I held alongside and the second corner was mine. He put a lot of pressure on me but I did not give him any chance. We changed the setup for the Feature race a bit in order to manage rear tyres better and it worked well. I had known that the first corner would be full of accidents and took it easy. It paid off, as I did not damage the car and my race really started after the second corner. We lost a bit at the first stop but I managed to overtake Lebanon quite quickly. The gap to front was relatively big, so it was effectively matter of cruising home. Our second stop was great. Approximately 10 laps before the end I felt that brake pedal softens because the front brakes were almost gone. France was much quicker and to be honest I did not defend my position too much and instead my focus was to preserve the brakes and finish the race. We saw after the race that the front brakes were worn down to the metal. We might have been higher with better qualifying but on the other hand we have points from both races and our car is in one piece. Some other competitors can not say this. Perhaps the most positive thing for me is the fact that my elbow held without any problem. It seems that long break and strict fitness regime paid off. I was warmed up during Aston Martin testing at the end of November and this A1GP weekend showed that I am fully fit again and can drive even single-seaters without power steering."
Antonin Charouz, seat holder: "I am delighted! Tomas did a really impressive job in his return to the A1GP and it is good to see that he is on form. Having said this, there is nothing against Erik and his performances in previous events. We had always known that he would be learning because it had been quite a big jump for him."