Fighting Czech Spirit Erik Janis and the Czech A1GP team left Brno without points but the youngster clearly showed his determination and improved rapidly during the weekend. He charged hardly during both races and finished 18th in the sprint and...
Fighting Czech Spirit
Erik Janis and the Czech A1GP team left Brno without points but the youngster clearly showed his determination and improved rapidly during the weekend. He charged hardly during both races and finished 18th in the sprint and 12th in the feature race. Very cold morning started the racing day and quite a few participants were surprised to see hoarfrost on their cars as they left their hotels. However, the sun was shining soon and it has turned out to be a very nice day. Almost 40 000 people found their way to the Brno Automotodrom and they saw a thrilling action during the whole day.
The Czech team was determined to repay them with a good drive despite low grid positions. Janis started the sprint from the 21st slot on the grid but managed to find a way forward as the race progressed and was 18th under the flag. His performance was even more promising thanks to the 14th fastest lap that confirmed his overall improvement.
One of the highlights of the day was the official ceremony that included also few demonstration laps of one very special car. With the news that legendary Ferrari will be the official supplier for the A1GP organisers managed to secure the car with which Michael Schumacher took four Grand Prix and fought for the 1997 championship. Young Czech Jan Charouz drove the car around the track.
Janis and the Czech team were ready to show even more in the feature race. Twenty years old driver kept his 17th place after the start but managed to gain places in both pitstops thanks to a faultless performance of the Czech crew. He also contributed by himself as his confidence was growing. His lap times improved on the way and a brave move on Australia demonstrated his skills.
He finished 12th and although he did not score any points he can definitely take some consolation that he managed to beat fairly last year double winner Alex Yoong and other much more experienced and rated drivers like Indy 500 winner Buddy Rice.
The account of the Czech team has one point from Zandvoort and it means 15th place in the overall standings.
Erik Janis: "I would do this weekend again immediately but with current knowledge. I am really pleased with the feature race. The sprint was not that good but in the feature race I found how to drive this car around the track. My confidence was growing and I managed to overtake Australian. I hoped that maybe I would catch the next ahead but it was not possible. Anyway, I understand the car better right now and I hope that I will be able to build on it. It was quite a trying weekend for me but the end is good. As far as the home pressure is concerned you feel it. It is impossible to ignore it but I was surprised how cool I was before the feature race. I also want to say thanks to the team because they did a great job during both stops and it helped as well. Last but not least big thanks to the fans for coming and cheering me. I really wanted at least a point for them!"
Antonin Charouz, seatholder: "We had known that it would be a difficult weekend for Erik. At the end of the day he did not disappoint. We have to remember that one moth ago he was driving Octavia and the A1GP is a big jump. He had to dig deep but he managed to overcome it a drove very good feature race. He finished ahead of driver like Alex Yoong, who won twice last year here, and other big names. The most important for him is to do as many laps as possible with the A1GP car especially as long as he is allowed to do Rookie sessions."