This weekend marks A1 Grand Prix's debut in Indonesia. The circuit looks set to provide a striking contrast to the Durban Street Race, and guarantees dynamic and challenging racing. Narrow margins between series points will demand fighting...
This weekend marks A1 Grand Prix's debut in Indonesia. The circuit looks set to provide a striking contrast to the Durban Street Race, and guarantees dynamic and challenging racing. Narrow margins between series points will demand fighting finishes, as teams struggle to elevate their positions within the closing chapters of this inaugural season.
The Sentul Circuit in Indonesia lies 8km from Bogor, West Java, and constitutes a fast and wide surface, boasting 11 turns over the 3.95km track. The variety of racing lines will present many overtaking opportunities, and requires a very different race strategy in comparison to the straight lines of the Durban circuit.
Located near the major commercial cities of Jakarta, Bogor, and Bandung, the Sentul Circuit hosts up to 25 meetings a year, but is yet to feature within four- wheeled international calendars. The circuit has predominantly been used for the Asian F3 series, and has featured within MotoGP and Superbike racing calendars.
After Great Britain's disappointment in the Durban Feature Race, Kerr's determination will fuel a passionate campaign for the number one spot this weekend. With only five points separating Kerr and Piquet Jnr, the race to claim third place is becoming heated. Threats from behind will also flavour Team Great Britain's racing. Team New Zealand are on the offensive, and are keen to dilute Great Britain's four point lead.
Nevertheless Robbie is adamant that the team will be "looking forward, not looking behind. All in all we are looking to the podium and are intending to overtake Brazil in the series standing." Having never raced in Indonesia before, this will certainly be a pragmatic experience for Team Great Britain. Huge corners, hot conditions, and extreme humidity are set to challenge both mechanics and drivers.
Even the formidable French driver Nicholas Lapierre has voiced concern about the conditions, and believes the racing "will be very physically demanding because of the heat and the humidity." Kerr agrees that "the weather will play a big part this weekend."
Currently relaxing with the rest of the team at their hotel, Kerr sounds confident, determined, and driven. The pressure to claim that eagerly anticipated top spot will be felt throughout the team. One thing is certain however, and as John Surtees proclaims "Robbie's speed and agility in Durban highlighted his skill and talent as a driver. Robbie is a performer, and he is currently flying."
Kerr claims to be eagerly awaiting the engineers, who arrive in Indonesia tomorrow. "No doubt we will want to make changes to the engine in order to take advantage of the circuit conditions. I am really excited about the high speed of the track, which suits my style of driving." With race day looming, Kerr's ambitions for the weekend are succinct; "I want to be on the podium, our strategy is to win."
A1 and Indonesian officials are expecting high levels of national support for the Grand Prix. Predictions of crowds 50,000 strong will complement the fact that Indonesia enjoys the second highest viewing figures in the series. A1 is a welcome visitor to Indonesia in the context of recent internal political turmoil, the Asian financial crisis, the devastating Bali bombings, and the 2004 Tsunami. The presence of an international sporting event aids President Yudhoyono's bid to rehabilitate the national economy and strengthen international relations. Indeed the strength of national support behind A1 has proven to be valuable in the promotion of Indonesian identity within a global forum.
A1 Team Indonesia has already proven to be a major platform for the promotion of Indonesian brands, products and services. Indonesian Team Principal Soetikno Soedarjo claims that "the world cup of motor sport excites anyone who is passionate about their heritage, country, and population." This weekend will not only offer exciting racing, but will also represent a significant political and sporting milestone within Indonesia.
Friday will see Team GBR take to the track for the official practice sessions, as the team prepare for Saturday's qualifying sessions, and Sunday's races. The Sentul Circuit in Indonesia heralds fresh opportunities for Robbie; and promises dramatic developments for Team Great Britain.