Ireland aiming to get back on track in China Dublin: The A1 Team Ireland squad head to Chengdu, China this week boosted by the news of Niall Quinn's victory in the Formula Palmer Audi Autumn Trophy and determined to get their season off ...
Ireland aiming to get back on track in China
Dublin: The A1 Team Ireland squad head to Chengdu, China this week boosted by the news of Niall Quinn's victory in the Formula Palmer Audi Autumn Trophy and determined to get their season off the ground after the false start caused by atrocious conditions in the opening round in Zandvoort, Holland, last month.
Ireland's hopes of title success in the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport remain on track as the teams assemble in China for the second event on the calendar. The introduction of a 'drop score' points system this season means that, despite two non-finishes in Zandvoort, the A1 Team Ireland squad is confident that it can be a contender for title honours this season.
With a team's best nine results from the ten events to count for the championship this season, A1 Team Ireland is hopeful that the Zandvoort weekend will not affect its overall score in the series. The impressive pace shown by Adam Carroll in qualifying in Zandvoort and recent testing at Silverstone has underlined the team's potential.
Carroll qualified third in the round one Sprint Race and topped the timesheets in official A1GP testing at Silverstone two weeks later. Quinn also tested impressively for the team at Silverstone and has been getting plenty of race mileage in Formula 3 and Formula Palmer Audi cars since Zandvoort.
"We aim to be a championship contender," says Team Principal Mark Gallagher. Our target for the weekend in Chengdu is podium finishes in both races which we believe is a realistic goal given our pace in Zandvoort and Silverstone. It will be great to have Niall Quinn back in the car for the rookie practice session. His driving and feedback to the engineers will be important as we try to gather as much data as possible about a track that is new to all the teams.
"The change in the rules of the series means that the Zandvoort weekend need not hurt our final points tally so we're staying focused on the main prize and everyone in the team is determined to get Ireland on the points table this weekend. Niall's performance in Snetterton in winning two races and taking a further podium on his way to the Formula Palmer Audi is a nice boost for both himself and the team. Adam drove very impressively at the Silverstone test and we believe we have a good baseline set up from which to start the weekend in China."
Team Technical Director Gerry Hughes believes that Ireland is well prepared for China after the positive test performance in Silverstone; Everyone was very disappointed with how Zandvoort turned out but what's important for us to focus on is how well the team functioned and the pace we were able to extract from the new 'Powered by Ferrari' car given our limited running before the event.
"Since then we've had a very encouraging test at Silverstone where Adam was quickest and where we gathered more useful information about how to take the maximum potential from the car. Chengdu is a new circuit for all of us and we'll be working hard with Niall and Adam right from the off to make sure that we get up to speed as quickly as possible."
Adam Carroll: We had a good test at Silverstone when the car felt very strong and good to drive, so I'm confident that we can contend for podium finishes in China. Our goal is consistency and if everything goes well for us I firmly believe that we're capable of winning races and fighting for the championship."
Niall Quinn: I really enjoyed my first acquaintance with the 'Powered by Ferrari' car at Silvertsone and since then I've had the two wins and the Formula Palmer Audi Autumn Trophy title so it's been a great couple of weeks. I'm looking forward to doing a good job for the team in China and I hope my contribution can be the start of a strong weekend for the team."
The 14-turn, 3.367km Chengdu Circuit lies 16 kilometres west of Chengdu City, known as the 'City of Abundance' and the fifth most populous city in China. Chengdu is the capital of Sichuan Province, home to 100 million people.