BLACK BEAUTY BEACHED AT BRANDS A1 Team New Zealand's finish to the fourth season of A1GP competition didn't end on the note the team was hoping for, after Black Beauty ended both races prematurely, beached in gravel traps around the Brands Hatch...
BLACK BEAUTY BEACHED AT BRANDS
A1 Team New Zealand's finish to the fourth season of A1GP competition didn't end on the note the team was hoping for, after Black Beauty ended both races prematurely, beached in gravel traps around the Brands Hatch circuit.
New Zealand got off to a solid start in the shorter Sprint Race, after starting from sixth place. A radio call from the team instructing Bamber to 'push' mid way through the race to find more speed was confused with a call to 'pit' for the compulsory pitstop.
This resulted in Bamber arriving in the pitlane early, and New Zealand's crew having to scramble to service Black Beauty.
Tragedy struck a few laps later however, through no fault of Bamber or Black Beauty. Lebanon spun in front of New Zealand with five laps remaining, forcing Bamber to take avoiding action, spinning Black Beauty into the gravel trap and out of the race.
At the front of the field, Ireland came out on top with the race win, placing the Irish team in the box seat to win the overall championship with one race still to run.
The longer Feature Race was interrupted before the race had even got underway, with problems for South Africa in finding their grid space causing the field to be sent for a second warm-up lap.
New Zealand fans were on the edge of their seats when the race did eventually get underway. Black Beauty headed into the first corner as part of a group of cars running four wide, however Bamber thankfully kept clear of trouble to hold sixth place.
An incident behind New Zealand brought out the Safety Car on the opening lap, after China and India tangled. Following two laps behind the Safety Car, Black Beauty was under pressure from the Australian car when the race resumed.
Bamber got to work and opened up a small gap from Australia, before another drama for Black Beauty spun Bamber out of the race from sixth place at the Westfield corner at Brands Hatch.
Ireland went on to win not only the race but also the fourth A1GP World Cup of Motorsport, in a perfect weekend for their team.
New Zealand just managed to hang on to seventh position in the points standings with 36 points, six points behind sixth placed Malaysia.
Australia put in a late charge in the points standings to finish equal on points with New Zealand, however New Zealand's early season podiums secured seventh place in what has been a rough season for Black Beauty.
Earl Bamber, Driver
"Lebanon spun in front of us and we had nowhere to go. It was an unfortunate way to end the Sprint Race."
"I've loved my time driving for New Zealand in the A1GP and would really like to come back for the team, hopefully in a stronger position with what we've learnt this season."
John Sears, Team Manager
"All in all it's been a frustrating season for us, despite showing some strong pace."