Mexican Double Score for Wickens Mexico City, Mexico -- An overheating engine ultimately robbed A1 Team Canada's Robert Wickens the opportunity to convert a well-earned pole position into victory in the Feature race of Round 8 of the 2007-08...
Mexican Double Score for Wickens
Mexico City, Mexico -- An overheating engine ultimately robbed A1 Team Canada's Robert Wickens the opportunity to convert a well-earned pole position into victory in the Feature race of Round 8 of the 2007-08 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport in Mexico City on Sunday. The 19-year-old Toronto-native battled hard despite this to capture fifth in the Feature having earlier scored a seventh place finish in the morning's Sprint event at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.
Wickens' performances at the 4.42km track netted Canada its first double-score since Round 6 in Australia in February and with 10 points accumulated in Mexico City, Robert now becomes Canada's all-time A1GP points scorer with 62 markers earned in just 12 race starts this season. With two rounds remaining, in China and Great Britain respectively, A1 Team Canada sits ninth overall in the A1GP Nations Standings.
A sixth place qualifying slot for Sunday morning's 14-lap Sprint event kept Robert at the sharp-end of the action in what was ultimately an incident-packed race meeting. An early red-flagging of the race brought with it much frustration for the Canadian team as Robert's efforts picking up two spots were wiped in an instant. The second rolling-start saw a fierce fight to the first turn with Wickens again battling the leaders. His luck ran out early however as he found himself pushed wide on the exit of the Turn 1. Despite this Robert ensured another solid points finish with seventh at the checkered. New Zealand's Jonny Reid triumphed over Great Britain's Oliver Jarvis and Switzerland's Neel Jani.
The Canadian enjoyed a clear view of the track from pole through to lap seven of the Feature when the early indicators of an overheating engine presented themselves. Passed by Jani, Wickens ran second to his first scheduled pit-stop two laps later. As the field cycled through, Ireland, the sister car to Canada -- with both teams operated by Status Grand Prix, split the Swiss and Canadian entries.
Faced with driving on the defensive for the remainder of the 47-lap race thanks to engine concerns, Robert again delivered a supreme performance. A constant force in the top-five, Wickens survived a spearing from behind by Germany on lap 34 and emerged from the second round of stops sixth. A late-race penalty for Switzerland promoted Canada back up to fifth -- a position held through to the flag. Adam Carroll delivered A1 Team Ireland's maiden A1GP victory, the Irishman taking the Feature win ahead of Great Britain's Oliver Jarvis and the USA's Jonathan Summerton.
"I think we salvaged the best that we could given the circumstances today," stated Wickens. "Obviously when you have a Feature pole you hope to lead throughout but we had a lot of overheating issues. My oil temperatures were crazy and I'd always lose ground on the main straight making me a bit of a sitting duck! I want to do the best I can every weekend so it's an honour to have now scored more points than any other Canadian in A1GP but I'm a little disappointed that things just didn't really go our way today, especially in the Feature."
Mark Gallagher, Managing Director of Status Grand Prix commented; "We knew Robbie was a bit behind the eight-ball in the Feature race. As usual he was giving us top-class feedback and we recognized we would struggle a bit so in that context he did a phenomenal job. Robbie's pole yesterday ranks amongst the best in A1GP so it's disappointing not to win but good to come away with back-to-back points. Ireland and Canada are working incredibly well together and it's no surprise that Canada won last time out in South Africa and Ireland won here in Mexico this weekend!"
The 2007-08 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport returns to China for a second stop with Round 9 hosted at the Shanghai International Circuit, Friday 11th -- Sunday 13th April.