China feels like a 'local' race for Ireland's A1GP drivers Dublin April 12th 2007; With the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport entering its final stages, A1 Team Ireland has moved to China and the purpose built Shanghai International Circuit which ...
China feels like a 'local' race for Ireland's A1GP drivers
Dublin April 12th 2007; With the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport entering its final stages, A1 Team Ireland has moved to China and the purpose built Shanghai International Circuit which hosted last years season finale and this weekend hosts the penultimate round of the 2006/07 series. The track will have a slightly different configuration for this years event; turns five, six and seven have been cut out to bring the lap down from 5.45km to 4.60km, which is more in line with other circuits that A1GP visits.
Gary Anderson will be absent from the paddock for this race only due to his commitments at the Bahrain Grand Prix, so Ireland's A1GP car will instead be engineered by John Booth, well known in racing circles as the owner of the highly successful Manor Motorsport outfit. After a blip on the team's upward trajectory in Mexico, hopes are high for a return to the pace shown in the previous four rounds of the championship.
John Booth and Gary Anderson have worked together in recent days to ensure a seamless transition on the engineering side, working closely with the team's data engineer and team manager.
After a frustrating weekend in Mexico three weeks ago, when the team struggled to find a competitive set up, drivers Richard Lyons and John O'Hara are hoping for a return to the form that saw Ireland's entry qualify in the top ten for the three previous races and steadily close the lap times on the most competitive teams.
Richard Lyons: "At every A1GP event my approach is the same - to score as many points as possible. We have been massively unlucky so far, but the team remains very positive. I've come to Shanghai from Japan where I've been racing in the Super GT Series so it's nice to have a shorter flight than usual to this event and also to be used to the time zone. I'm looking forward to working with John Booth; his record speaks for itself and I'm sure he'll be a big help to the team in Gary's absence."
Official Reserve Driver John O'Hara will continue to drive the car in the rookie sessions and like Richard will not have too far to travel to this round.
John O'Hara: "Shanghai is a great place and I've been told by the team that over 80,000 people attended last year's race. I'm based in Manila a lot of the time so this is close to a home race for me, and then I'm looking forward to spending a few days in Ireland before heading on to Brands Hatch. We've had our first briefing with John Booth and we have a very clear engineering program to run through on Friday."
Mark Gallagher Team Principal: "We have bitter sweet memories of Shanghai from last season when we finished 4th in the Sprint Race but had the car written off in the Feature Race. It's been a tough season but we've stuck together as a team and we'll continue to battle for the kind of results that our efforts deserve. In the absence of Gary Anderson this weekend we would not wish to have a better person overseeing engineering than John Booth whose Manor Motorsport team is one of the very best in the world outside of F1. Shanghai gave us some great racing last time round, which is what A1GP is all about. So far in just under two seasons we've seen 13 different nations claim race victories and we'd very much like to make sure A1 Team Ireland become the 14th member of that club."
-credit: team ireland