Czech No-Score Frustrates Canada A pair of spirited performances from Toronto's James Hinchcliffe brought a 12th place Sprint finish and an 11th place Feature finish for A1 Team Canada as Round 2 of the 2007-08 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport ...
Czech No-Score Frustrates Canada
A pair of spirited performances from Toronto's James Hinchcliffe brought a 12th place Sprint finish and an 11th place Feature finish for A1 Team Canada as Round 2 of the 2007-08 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport played out at the Brno Auto Motodrom in the Czech Republic.
While a repeat of last season's podium performance at the 5.40km track seemed a tall order with 20th and 10th place starting slots respectively for Hinchcliffe, the 20-year-old gave it his all but with points only awarded from first to tenth, Canada once again just missed out on opening its scoring account.
Following a frustrating Saturday in Brno, where a problematic set of tires led the team in the wrong direction in practice, Hinchcliffe highlighted his race credentials as the 22-car field of nations took the rolling start for Sunday morning's 10-lap Sprint race. From 20th on the grid the Champ Car Atlantic race winner wasted little time in carving his way through the slower back-markers, making full use of his power boost button to pick them off. The Canadian climbed to a respectable 12th place finish at the checkered while New Zealand's Jonny Reid collected his first win of the season ahead of Great Britain's Robbie Kerr and Ireland's debutant Adam Carroll.
A good start for James in the afternoon's 38-lap Feature race was quickly compromised having been boxed in on the run to the first turn by the French entry. Falling to 13th the Canadian crew looked to help improve Hinchcliffe's position with a new set of tires for his second stint but a dropped wheel nut in the pits at the start of lap 13 cost valuable time. Heading back on-track and into traffic, instead of the planned clean air, further hindered Canada's chances with James caught up behind Erik Janis and Ian Dyk in the Czech Republic and Australian entries respectively.
A slick pass on Janis on lap 17 put the Canadian up into 14th with Dyk less than a second ahead in 13th. With overtaking proving difficult, despite Hinchcliffe having the faster of the two cars, the team knew the second and final mandatory pit-stop would prove crucial in gaining position. A cleanly executed stop did the trick with Canada emerging ahead of Australia and the Czech Republic. The last ten laps saw Hinchcliffe gain around a second a lap to Italy ahead in 10th but the Ontario-resident was forced to settle for 11th at the flag. New Zealand's Jonny Reid swept the top step of the podium with Jeroen Bleekemolen second for The Netherlands and Switzerland's Neel Jani placing third.
"The team did a good job all weekend," said Hinchcliffe. "We know we have a decent race pace but we need to work on qualifying so we're up there when it counts. I think we could have been in the points today but we were held up quite a bit in our second stint in the Feature, we showed how quick we were at the end as we closed in on Italy but we ran out of time and just missed out on points."
A1 Team Canada Team Manager Simon Cayzer commented, "We could have had a top-six finish this weekend but frustratingly one way or another we've come away without scoring. We had a good car today and a driver who knows the circuit well so we're a little disappointed. We've now got a five week gap to put in some work away from the track and really get our season started in Malaysia!"
The 2007-08 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport continues with Round 3 hosted at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia, Friday 23rd -- Sunday 25th November.
Setanta Sports will broadcast Round 2 on 15th October at 8am EST
SPEED will air Round 2 on 31st October at Noon EST