Kyalami: Team New Zealand Sunday notes

BLACK BEAUTY ROBBED OF STRONG RESULT After a promising start to the Feature Race at the Kyalami circuit in South Africa, A1 Team New Zealand was robbed of a strong result after contact from a competitor spun Black Beauty into a gravel trap and...

BLACK BEAUTY ROBBED OF STRONG RESULT

After a promising start to the Feature Race at the Kyalami circuit in South Africa, A1 Team New Zealand was robbed of a strong result after contact from a competitor spun Black Beauty into a gravel trap and out of the race.

Earlier in the day, Earl Bamber drove Black Beauty from twelfth on the grid to eighth in the fourteen lap Sprint Race.

New Zealand made an average start from grid three for the Feature Race, which saw Black Beauty seem to drop back to fifth, but an aggressive late braking move by Bamber brought the eighteen-year-old Kiwi back to third by the entry to the first corner. The chaos on track ensued early, with championship leaders Ireland being nudged off circuit within the first few corners, making them the first nation to retire as a result of contact with Malaysia.

While Monaco led from Pole Position, New Zealand maintained third place despite some heavy pressure for many of the opening couple of laps from Malaysia. With fans at the circuit on the edge of their seat watching the battle, Australia entered the mix, and for a few corners took the pressure off New Zealand as they looked to pass Malaysia.

Then just four laps into the forty lap race, the heart-breaking moment came for New Zealand, with Malaysia crashing into the rear of Black Beauty under brakes, before the duo had even attempted to take the corner. The contact spun the New Zealand car into a gravel trap, beaching it, and loosing any chance of finishing what trackside commentators were labelling a "crazy race".

The incident was under investigation by race stewards, but Malaysia's car in the pit box just a few laps later with what appeared to be suspension damage, most likely as a result of the two early race contacts their car endured.

In the shorter Sprint Race, Bamber put in a strong drive, as he worked his way into the last points-scoring place to finish eighth after starting twelfth. In what was a much more refined race, Bamber had worked his way up to tenth by the end of the opening lap, while The Netherlands opened up a huge lead.

With nine laps to run, New Zealand was one of the earliest to head in for their compulsory pitstop. Slick work by the New Zealand crew lifted Black Beauty a further two places to her eventual eighth place result, banking the only point of the weekend for New Zealand. The race was won by The Netherlands in a very dominant performance.

After taking just one point away from Kyalami, New Zealand stay in sixth place in the championship standings, while Switzerland is the new championship leader after taking victory in the Feature Race.

The A1GP World Cup of Motorsport now takes a break until early April when the championship resumes over Easter weekend, 11-12 April at the new Algarve circuit in Portugal.

Earl Bamber, Driver

"Going into turn 12, he [Malaysia] drilled us from behind and that was the end of our race."

"Our pace in the Feature wasn't that great -- we're scratching our heads about that a little."

"We had a good race car for the Sprint Race, and we set the sixth quickest laptime. The team did a great job in pitstop!"

John Sears, Team Manager

"We're very disappointed with our result. Most teams in front of us in the championship got some decent points. We were hoping for a podium."

"This morning in the Sprint Race we were pretty good, we made up some places."

-credit: nz

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Series A1GP
Drivers Earl Bamber