Premature End to Hinchcliffe's Australian Adventure Sunday 04 February, 2007 -- A1 Team Canada came away from Round 7 of the 2006-07 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport on Sunday empty-handed following a disappointing 13th place Sprint race finish and...
Premature End to Hinchcliffe's Australian Adventure
Sunday 04 February, 2007 -- A1 Team Canada came away from Round 7 of the 2006-07 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport on Sunday empty-handed following a disappointing 13th place Sprint race finish and a spectacular Feature race retirement for James Hinchcliffe at Australia's Eastern Creek International Raceway.
Blocked at the start of the morning's 20-minute Sprint, Eastern Creek's tight, 3.93km configuration yielded little opportunity for Toronto's Hinchcliffe to make up the two spots he dropped from his 11th place grid slot. Traditionally a processional race as the field protects its position ahead of the 70-minute Feature race, the Sprint results forming the start order for the afternoon's race, James was held in 13th through to the checkered flag, his first non-scoring finish for Canada since Round 1in Holland.
Pole-sitter Nico Hulkenberg claimed his third straight A1GP win with the Sprint race honours, the teenage rookie scoring Germany's fifth victory of the season to further extend the team's points advantage over France in the Nations Standings. Hulkenberg was joined on the podium by New Zealand's Jonny Reid and France's Loic Duval in third, the leading trio continuing their podium streak having shut-out the top-three slots two weeks earlier in New Zealand.
Hinchcliffe's Feature race proved to be short lived following contact on the opening lap with Singapore's Christian Murchison. Running side-by-side into Turn 4, Canada edged ahead under braking but Murchison's front-left tire tagged Hinchcliffe's right-rear pitching the 20-year-old rookie into a spectacular barrel roll which left him parked upside down in the gravel trap -- race over.
Both drivers emerged unscathed from the incident but the subsequent failure to score for a second straight outing dropped Canada down a spot to tenth in the Nations Standings having arrived in Australia sitting ninth overall following a pair of top-six points scoring finishes in New Zealand. Germany's Hulkenberg claimed the Australian Feature win with Reid second again for New Zealand while China's Ho-Pin Tung celebrated the team's first-ever A1GP podium in third.
"Well I'm pleased to say the car held up really well during my crash," stated Hinchcliffe post-race. "Lola does a great job constructing these cars and all I'm left with thankfully is a bruised knee and a bruised ego. I'd made a great start, I was pushing Ireland for position, they had the line into turn four so I let them go but then I guess Christian ducked in there as well and we hit. It was a racing incident, nothing more but it's really frustrating as we had a good car with the potential to pick up points."
-credit: team canada