Slick Wickens Steers Canada to Third Podium Eastern Creek, Australia (Sunday 3 February, 2008) -- A1 Team Canada celebrated its strongest showing of the 2007-08 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport season today in Round 6 with Toronto's Robert ...
Slick Wickens Steers Canada to Third Podium
Eastern Creek, Australia (Sunday 3 February, 2008) -- A1 Team Canada celebrated its strongest showing of the 2007-08 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport season today in Round 6 with Toronto's Robert Wickens scoring a sublime third place Sprint podium having started the race down in 15th. A second points scoring finish followed with sixth place in the Feature race as a downpour down-under greeted the 22-strong field of nations at Australia's Eastern Creek International Raceway.
Taking just seven race starts to become the first Canadian driver to score three A1GP podiums, 18-year-old Wickens conquered tricky conditions to give the team a second consecutive top-three finish following his runner-up podium last time out in New Zealand. Sixth in the afternoon's Feature race also gifted Canada its first double points score at an A1GP round in over a year, the team meeting its objectives heading into the weekend scoring in both races and breaking into the top-ten of the A1GP Nations Standings -- Canada now placed tenth overall, on 37 points, with four rounds remaining.
Wickens was an early candidate for 'Driver of the Day' in the morning's 14-lap Sprint race. A mid-race downpour unleashed the Canadian entry with Robert emerging from a static dry pace, starting 15th, to one of the fastest entries in the wet. While his rivals struggled, the 2006 Formula BMW USA Champion streaked around the 3.39km Sydney circuit -- the highlight a stunning sweep past Germany's Michael Ammermuller for fourth. Climbing to third at the checkered, Robert joined race-winner Loic Duval from France and New Zealand's Jonny Reid in second on the podium.
Ironically the Sprint's top-three drivers would all start the afternoon's 70-minute Feature race from either the rear of the grid or the pit-lane -- Wickens' lining up 21st courtesy of a qualifying penalty awarded the day before. As if to prove the morning's mastering of the wet was no fluke, the teenage rookie subsequently blitzed the opening lap crossing the start-finish line for his second tour in an incredible tenth place, half the field passed in the process!
A solid race followed with Robert keeping the Canadian car out of trouble and a constant presence in the top-ten. At ease despite the treacherous track conditions, Wickens steered his way to sixth at the checkered with the race called on time just three laps shy of the 45 scheduled laps. South Africa's Adrian Zaugg celebrated the win followed by Switzerland's Neel Jani and Great Britain's Robbie Kerr.
"I'm ecstatic with today's performances as it shows we're getting better and better every weekend," enthused Wickens. "I was confident of our performance in the wet and I really can't thank the team enough. They gave me two great pit stops in the Feature race and together we scored two solid points finishes today which is outstanding, it was simply a great team effort!"
Mark Gallagher, whose Status Grand Prix operation runs A1 Team Canada stated; "Robert represents the very best of young talent coming into A1GP and he's a real credit to Canada to be in this series. He has established himself as a contender in every race. To get a podium in the Sprint race from where he started from was exceptional. Sixth in the Feature again underlined the fact that he's a consummate racer and the team can't praise him enough for the contribution he's making!"
-credit: team canada