Ireland to start 11th in Beijing's inaugural street race Beijing, China, 11 November; Ireland's Michael Devaney will start tomorrow's A1GP event in Beijing, China, from 11th position on the grid after the organisers were forced to scrap...
Ireland to start 11th in Beijing's inaugural street race
Beijing, China, 11 November; Ireland's Michael Devaney will start tomorrow's A1GP event in Beijing, China, from 11th position on the grid after the organisers were forced to scrap qualifying due to a broken manhole cover on the new street circuit. The incident occurred after 25 minutes of an already-delayed third practice session, and the times set by competitors at that point have been used to determine the starting order for tomorrow morning's Sprint Race.
A 90 minute practice session was scheduled for 11.30am today but started three quarters of an hour late due to damage caused to the circuit by one of the support races. Devaney complete 14 laps before the session was halted due to the manhole cover being sucked out of the ground, posing a serious safety issue to competitors. With organisers deciding that all manhole covers would now have to be bolted in place as well as welded, track activities were cancelled for a remainder of today and the results of practice were used to determine grid order.
"It's been a frustrating time for everyone but we just have to hope the organisers get things sorted for tomorrow's race," said Michael Devaney. "We managed to do a few laps in practice at least, but the conditions were very dusty and I was running on old tyres and 40kgs of fuel when the session was halted. The track is narrow and very bumpy, but if they can get the issues with the manhole covers sorted out I am sure we can have a good race tomorrow."
Mark Gallagher, Managing Director of A1 Team Ireland, said: "I have spoken at length with the A1GP management and they have explained the problems in detail. Although the manhole covers were welded shut, the welds did not stand up to the vibration of the cars and so the only thing to do is bolt them in position as well as to re-weld them. This is going to take time and, with the emphasis on ensuring that tomorrow's first ever street race in Beijing goes ahead, we have to let the organisers do whatever they need to do. Using the practice times to establish the qualifying order is in fact covered in the Sporting Regulations, so it's a correct procedure for A1GP to follow. We really want Beijing's street race to be a success, so let's hope tomorrow goes off without further problems."
-credit: team ireland