Hinchcliffe podium opens scoring for A1 Team Canada Brno, Czech Republic (October 08, 2006) -- Toronto's James Hinchcliffe (19) led A1 Team Canada to a second place Sprint race podium finish and came within five laps of a stunning Feature race...
Hinchcliffe podium opens scoring for A1 Team Canada
Brno, Czech Republic (October 08, 2006) -- Toronto's James Hinchcliffe (19) led A1 Team Canada to a second place Sprint race podium finish and came within five laps of a stunning Feature race victory today having led the majority of the 38-lap race in Round 2 of the 2006-07 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport at the Auto Motodrom, Brno in the Czech Republic. With 23 nations battling for global supremacy in A1GP, Hinchcliffe's impressive rookie performances today opened Canada's points scoring account, the team placing fourth in the Nations Standings after two rounds.
Sprint Race, 10 laps (Winner -- A1 Team Malaysia, Alex Yoong)
Well versed in the art of rolling starts, based on three decorated seasons in North America's junior open-wheel ranks, Hinchcliffe fired the Canadian entry through the order from fifth to second at the start of the Sprint event as 23 nations unleashed their 550bhp, V8-powered A1GP cars on a charge to the first turn. A1 Team Malaysia snatched the lead, with ex-Formula One driver Alex Yoong driving, with Canada second and last season's inaugural World Champions, A1 Team France in third courtesy of Nicolas Lapierre. The top-three held station throughout the race, Hinchcliffe taking the checkered flag in second place just 1.6s behind the Malaysian entry to record A1 Team Canada's first podium of the season, along with top rookie honors, in just his third career A1GP start.
Feature Race, 38 laps (Winner -- A1 Team Malaysia, Alex Yoong)
Canada's strong Sprint showing was rewarded with their first-ever A1GP front-row start, Hinchcliffe lining up alongside Alex Yoong for the Feature's standing start. Blitzing the line James led the field to the first turn and only relinquished P1 at the end of lap 10 as he headed to pit-lane for a mandatory stop. Six laps later Canada took control of the race once again as Switzerland and Lebanon, the last to pit, finally made their respective stops. What followed was a thrilling display of driving from the Canadian rookie as he kept Yoong in check in the Malaysian entry.
At the halfway point James held a two second advantage over his vastly more experienced rival, Alex then mounting a second half attack, eventually working the gap down to less than half a second with 10 to go while they held a sizeable 13 second margin over former IRL driver and home favorite Tomas Enge for the Czech Republic. Lap 33 proved to be the turning point of the race as Hinchcliffe was clipped from behind by second-placed Yoong, James surrendering the lead to the Malaysian as he spun out onto the dirt. Back on track, but on a dirty set of tires, the Canadian car quickly fell prey to the Czech Republic (Tomas Enge) and Mexico (Salvador Duran), who completed the podium behind Yoong, then Germany but James held on to take fifth at the flag.
"Overall a good day but a frustrating result in the Feature given the performance of the whole team. I made a great start off the line this afternoon and worked up a decent lead. The guys did an unbelievable job in the pits today and they got me out well ahead of Alex. Ultimately he closed on us, he would gain some ground then I'd pull it out again. He wasn't alongside me enough to make the pass, he hit me and I spun out. He clearly had the faster car towards the end, we were both the class of the field, but it was the wrong place to make a move! I'm disappointed for the team but we bagged a podium in the Sprint and some points to get on the board today."
Round 3 of the 2006-07 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport takes place next month, Friday 17th -- Sunday 19th November, in Beijing, China
-credit: team canada