Montreal, Canada -- While the 2007-08 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport draws to a close at Brands Hatch in the United Kingdom in a couple of weekends, Friday 2nd -- Sunday 4th May, for most racers the regular season is in the process of kicking off ...
Montreal, Canada -- While the 2007-08 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport draws to a close at Brands Hatch in the United Kingdom in a couple of weekends, Friday 2nd -- Sunday 4th May, for most racers the regular season is in the process of kicking off around the world and A1 Team Canada's drivers have either begun or are away to begin their quests for 2008 titles.
Italy's famed Monza circuit plays host to the opening round of the 2008 World Series by Renault this weekend with Robert Wickens looking to translate his form from an outstanding rookie year in A1GP over the winter into his new ride with Carlin Motorsport. The 19-year-old Toronto-resident, who became an A1GP race winner with A1 Team Canada in just his ninth start this season in South Africa, has already impressed in pre-season testing, powering his way to the top of the timesheets on the final day of World Series by Renault running at Spain's Circuit de Catalunya two weeks ago.
With back-to-back race weekends in Monza and Belgium's Spa-Francorchamps circuit, Robert's season starts with a double punch but success in the World Series by Renault is usually rewarded with the likes of Sebastian Vettel (Toro Rosso), Robert Kubica (BMW-Sauber) and Heikki Kovalainen (McLaren-Mercedes) all graduating to Formula One having showcased their talents in the series against some of the finest up-and-coming racing prospects.
Having proved himself in A1GP with one win, five podiums and two pole positions, Wickens will no doubt continue to shine this season in the European-based championship -- the teenager the first Canadian to race in the World Series since countryman and fellow A1 Team Canada race winner Sean McIntosh, from British Columbia, claimed a sixth place championship finish in 2006.
Elsewhere James Hinchcliffe and Daniel Morad have already enjoyed their first taste of 2008 race action with the Canadian stand-outs opening their respective campaigns in the 11-round Atlantic Championship at the weekend in Long Beach, California.
Hinchcliffe, who has 18-race starts for A1 Team Canada under his belt, including the opening two rounds of the 2007-08 season, enters his third year in Atlantics with the 21-year-old from Toronto returning to Forsythe Pettit Racing - the team he debuted with in 2006. Markham's Daniel Morad arrives in Atlantics as the reigning Formula BMW USA Champion and he graduates with Eurointernational who ran him to his 2007 title. The 18-year-old currently has three A1GP events to his credit participating in the 'Rookie-Only' sessions for A1 Team Canada in 2008.
'Hinch' set the pace in Friday's opening practice, pacing the 23-car field around the 1.968-mile temporary street circuit in Long Beach. Final qualifying on Saturday saw Morad and Hinchcliffe share the fifth row of the grid in ninth and tenth respectively. Sunday's 50-minute race was a fairly static affair although Daniel was one of the few to improve his position claiming sixth at the checkered while James crossed the line tenth. Quebec's Kevin Lacroix represented Canada on the Atlantic podium claiming third for Walker Racing -- Lacroix another competitor with A1GP experience having represented A1 Team Canada in four events last season in the 'Rookie-Only' sessions.
A1 Team Canada will look to cement a second top-ten finish in the A1GP Nations Standings in three seasons at the final round of the 2007-08 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport on Sunday 4th May at Brands Hatch -- Canada currently ninth overall on 75 points. Driver confirmation for Round 10 will be announced shortly.