Shanghai International Circuit, Shanghai/China; Sunday, 2 April 2006 -- A1 Team France is the first winner of the A1 Grand Prix Series, "The World Cup of Motorsport". A1 Team France, with its drivers Nicolas Lapierre and Alexandre Premat, won in...
Shanghai International Circuit, Shanghai/China; Sunday, 2 April 2006 -- A1 Team France is the first winner of the A1 Grand Prix Series, "The World Cup of Motorsport". A1 Team France, with its drivers Nicolas Lapierre and Alexandre Premat, won in stunning manner, by taking 13 wins from 22 races and claiming three pole positions, five fastest race laps and 20 finishes in the points.
A1 Team France had already been declared as Champion's before the final race in Shanghai/China, as the closest challenger, A1 Team Switzerland, could no longer score sufficient points. That's why the two drivers shared the cockpit at the season finale; this is explicitly allowed within the revolutionary A1 Grand Prix series regulations. After Premat secured third place on the grid in qualifying, he also started the sprint race, which he finished seventh due to braking problems.
He then handed over the cockpit to Nicolas Lapierre for the feature race. The young Frenchman fought his way spectacularly to the front on the opening lap; however a safety car period slowed the field following an accident on the third lap. When the entire field peeled-off into the pit-lane to make the compulsory pit stop, it appeared that a good result in the season finale for A1 Team France was out of the question, since a wheel nut on the left-rear wheel jammed. Lapierre was able to continue the race and, after making numerous spectacular overtaking manoeuvres, fought his way brilliantly up to sixth place at the chequered flag after 30 laps. A1 Team France cemented its title win with 172 points and by 51 points to A1 Team Switzerland in the final standings.
"Even though this was probably the worst race of the season for me because of the brake problems, this was far outweighed by the joy of winning the championship", said Premat, who opened the race day as driver in the sprint race. "We dominated the competition, and the team did a fantastic job. See you next year." Team mate Nicolas Lapierre added: "We won 13 of 22 races -- what more could you want? Today's result is of no consequence, the overtaking manoeuvres made it all very enjoyable. I'd like to thank the entire team who looked after us perfectly throughout the whole season."
Jean-Paul Driot, team principal, A1 Team France commented: "It was a great season for us with a lot of wins. I honestly have to say it was a fantastic season. We were able to do a single seater series with two drivers -- this is quite unique. There was fantastic harmony in the team throughout the whole season. I also have to thank the creators of A1 Grand Prix. They opened the doors for motorsport to a lot of countries which did not participate until A1 GP. They did some great moves inside and outside the track."
A1 Team France was one of 25 teams competing in the new A1 Grand Prix Series, "The World Cup of Motorsport". Drivers Nicolas Lapierre and Alexandre Premat are two highly talented youngsters taking turns at the wheel. A1 Grand Prix continues to make huge strides in attracting worldwide audiences in its inaugural season. After its first season, A1GP reaches an average audience of more than 8 million viewers per race in more than 120 countries.
The first race of the 2006/2007 season is held from 30 September to 1 October in Zandvoort/Netherlands.