Podium finish for A1 Team GBR in Australia Eastern Creek, Australia, Sunday 3 February 2008: - Robbie Kerr drives to third in the feature race for A1 Team GBR at Eastern Creek, Australia. A1 Team GBR celebrated this afternoon after Robbie ...
Podium finish for A1 Team GBR in Australia
Eastern Creek, Australia, Sunday 3 February 2008: - Robbie Kerr drives to third in the feature race for A1 Team GBR at Eastern Creek, Australia. A1 Team GBR celebrated this afternoon after Robbie Kerr finished the feature race in third position at Eastern Creek in Australia, for round six of the 2007/08 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport.
The result was a welcome return to the podium, especially following a strategy gamble from the morning sprint race which disadvantaged the team and meant Robbie only finished in 16th position. Robbie began this morning's 14-lap sprint race from eighth on the grid and made a fantastic start, moving up to fifth after turn two by passing Germany, USA and China. He was then one second behind fourth-placed Team New Zealand, and pushed hard over the opening laps. On lap seven, by which time heavy rainfall had begun, Robbie was up to fourth after South Africa spun off track. On lap eight, A1 Team GBR made the decision to bring Robbie in to change from slick to wet tyres, and he emerged from the pits in 19th position.
Unfortunately the gamble did not pay off, as just three other teams made the same choice, and the remaining drivers were able to hang on in the wet conditions on slicks. With the Czech team pitting on lap 11, Robbie gained one position and, after overtaking Mexico and Lebanon on the final lap, he crossed the line in 16th position. Fortunes changed dramatically for the afternoon's feature race, of which the entire 45 laps were held in heavy rain, causing spray and limited visibility for the 22 drivers out on track. With pole-sitters New Zealand beginning the race from the pitlane, Robbie began from second position behind Switzerland. He briefly fell to third after the lights behind South Africa, but soon regained his position.
Following his first pitstop on lap nine, he went off in hot pursuit of Switzerland. On lap 14 he ran slightly wide at turn nine, but remained on track, albeit losing some time to Switzerland. After the first round of pitstops, South Africa came out on top, followed by Switzerland with GBR in third. Robbie made his second stop on lap 28 and had a steady race from then on, passing the chequered flag in third and collecting ten points. A1 Team GBR has now moved up to sixth in the championship with 58 points.
Two further Team GBR podiums came today courtesy of rookie driver James Winslow, who has also been competing in this weekend's Australian F3 Championship rounds, which have supported A1GP. He finished in a strong second position in this morning's race, before taking third in this afternoon's event.
Sprint Race: "We had a great start immediately going from 8th to 5th position. We got right behind New Zealand but lost a bit of air and front grip, so couldn't get too close. But I continued to put pressure on New Zealand and there was no pressure from China behind, so we were fairly happy with where we were. When the rain came, the car felt okay and we were keeping pace with the cars in front, but a pitstop call was made which ultimately turned out to be the wrong decision as the rain wasn't heavy enough around the track to make the wets work, then by the end of the race when the track was at its wettest, our wets had completely gone away. It's a real disappointment since we had a strong chance of a podium finish."
Feature Race: "It's great to be back on the podium for GBR as it's been a long time since we were last up there in Brno last October. The feature race start was a bit mixed - it definitely looked like we could challenge for P1, but unfortunately the pace dropped off a little and we couldn't get the grip out of the car on the corner so lost time falling back to third which, after two good pitstops, we held for the rest of the race. But it's a good result and definitely one we needed. Now we just need to make sure we carry on with the momentum and stay on the podium to give us a chance in the Championship".
Katie Clements, Team Principal: "To celebrate the podium following this morning's disappointment is really fantastic. Robbie did an extremely good job in very difficult track conditions and I am pleased that after the misfortune in New Zealand a fortnight ago, we are able to leave Australia with some good points and having moved up to sixth in the championship."
-credit: team gbr