A1 Team Brasil Encouraged by Improvement in New Zealand It was a disappointing day for A1 Team Brasil in Taupo for the New Zealand round of the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport, as the promising speed shown in the sprint and feature races was not...
A1 Team Brasil Encouraged by Improvement in New Zealand
It was a disappointing day for A1 Team Brasil in Taupo for the New Zealand round of the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport, as the promising speed shown in the sprint and feature races was not able to be translated into results, and the team suffered another non-points scoring weekend. The misfortune began in the sprint when driver Raphael Matos was pushed into a spin two laps before the end, denying him of a certain top ten finish, and ended in the feature, when Raphael made a mistake trying to overtake and had to have a lengthy pitstop for repair work. To leave New Zealand with no points is frustrating for the team after two strong race performances and visible improvements since the last outing in Indonesia.
Raphael began the 15-lap sprint race from 12th place on the grid and, after the rolling start, had moved up to 10th position. He fell to 11th after Italy's Enrico Toccacelo passed him on lap two and then racing was paused for four laps while the safety car was deployed. On lap ten Raphael retook position from Italy, and found himself in ninth spot after Team Ireland was forced to retire due to a mechanical problem. Raphael was pushing Great Britain's Robbie Kerr hard for eighth, and when he made his move, the two made slight contact, pushing Raphael into a spin. He managed to continue, but had fallen to 17th. He quickly passed Tomas Enge in the Czech Republic car, but time ran out to improve any further.
Starting from 16th in the 50-lap feature race, Raphael made steady progress, moving up to 12th by the fifth lap. However, on lap six he went to overtake the Team USA car, but locked the wheels which sent him over the grass and over a kerb. He lost the front wing of the car and was therefore forced to make a long pitstop for repairs, emerging after the round of pitstops in 20th. For the rest of the race Raphael set lap times comparable to the front-runners, and was able to climb to 14th, but there wasn't enough time to fight for points.
Raphael Matos: "This isn't the ending that I wanted for the weekend, but we have definitely made a big improvement with the car. It feels much better, but it's hard coming from behind. We showed we had the pace to run easily in the top ten, and really in the top six."
Emerson Fittipaldi, Team Principal: "It is such a shame that we couldn't get a good result this weekend. The sprint race was unfortunate because we improved the car a lot and were looking strong, and the spin was not Raphael's fault. In the feature race, all I can think to say is that mistakes happen. When he was trying to overtake he went too wide, locked the wheels and missed the braking. We have made a big improvement with the car performance from the last race and looking at our pace, we should have been running fifth or sixth."
-credit: team brazil