Ireland on the rise in China
Adam Carroll continued Belmayne A1 Team Ireland point- scoring form with a fourth place Sprint finish in round four of the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport at the series' first ever visit to the Zhuhai International Circuit today.
Adam made a great start to the Sprint race from P3, challenging second-placed Switzerland until an incident at Turn 4 brought out the Safety Car and his challenge was halted forcing everyone to fall into line until Lap 4. On the re-start Adam pushed hard but with lack of grip couldn't hang on to the leading duo. By mid race distance he came under increasing pressure from China, who with the support of their home crowd behind them found a way past and with Adam still struggling with lack of grip and understeer, he was in no position to defend. He finished a strong fourth gaining valuable points and helping the team move up the championship standings but the team were looking for improvements from race two.
Ireland made a good start in the Feature Race but unfortunately got caught up in an incident going into Turn 1 with Adam being clipped from behind and getting stuck out on track. He got going to catch onto the pack, now bunched behind the Safety Car, and when everything settled down was only in P16 so ultimately had only lost three places from the start. After a good restart and some fantastically slick team work in the first pit-stop, Adam was back up to an incredible P8 and looking to challenge Germany up ahead when he radioed in that he felt a problem with the left rear. He immediately pitted and the team discovered a bent wishbone, damage sustained from the first lap collision. The team continued to work hard and fixed the problem to get Ireland back out in an attempt to gain a point for fastest lap which they only just missed by one hundredth of a second. The speed was there all weekend but the results didn't reflect the team work. With further points on the board the team go into the Christmas break in positive spirit now 7th in the championship, only 9 points off 4th, and will be back ready to challenge in 2008 in New Zealand.
Adam Carroll: "Fourth place was a good points finish but the pace just wasn't there for the podium. China had a lot more pace and their car just arrived alongside me, I didn't even know he was there! When someone's so close behind you and you look in your mirrors you can't see anything. When someone has that much of an advantage on you you're pretty much a sitting duck and I couldn't even defend.
"It was unfortunate in the Feature Race because even though we started 13th, then got spun around, then stalled and then re-started we still got back into contention! We were definitely quick enough and after the first pit stops we were right behind those who ended fourth and fifth so it's just frustrating as it was a good opportunity to score some strong points, but we'll be back fighting in New Zealand."
Dan Walmsley, Race Engineer: "The Sprint Race we were a little frustrated to drop from third to fourth but we're happy to have finished in the points again. We didn't have the pace we expected but we got to the bottom of the problem and at the end of season those points could be decisive but all in all and acceptable result. We did a lot of work between the two races to get the set up right for the Feature Race, went in with a lot of confidence that we had the car underneath us on raw pace to challenge for the top three. We got tapped into a spin at Turn 1 but Adam made a great recovery. After the first round of pit stops we stayed out longer to try and pass a few people and the guys did a great job in the stop helping us jump from P13 to P10. However, 8 laps before second pit window Adam had to pit due to a mechanical failure at the rear which we found out to be a bent wishbone caused by the incident at the first turn. We replaced it in an attempt to get fastest lap but unfortunately we didn't quite string it together and ended up missing it by 1 hundredth of a second. We've had a day of mixed fortunes with a positive Sprint race and inting Feature Race but we're looking forward to the New Year and hopefully some new luck."
Mark Gallagher, Team Principal: "It was a good result in the Sprint Race and a decent haul of points adds to continuing our consistent record. It's a shame Adam couldn't hold onto third place but the performance in the car was clearly not there. In the Feature race, Adam didn't do anything other than drive very well and the team did a superb job but unfortunately circumstances outside our control ruined it for us. It's a shame but that happens in racing and the team should be congratulated on another really strong weekend. They worked hard and we're knocking of regular podiums all the time."