Wickens Seals Second Row Feature Start Taupo, New Zealand -- Robert Wickens successfully carried his front-running form from Friday's practice sessions into Saturday qualifying as the 18-year-old Toronto-native posted A1 Team Canada's best ...
Wickens Seals Second Row Feature Start
Taupo, New Zealand -- Robert Wickens successfully carried his front-running form from Friday's practice sessions into Saturday qualifying as the 18-year-old Toronto-native posted A1 Team Canada's best qualifying slot of the 2007-08 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport season courtesy of fourth on the grid for Round 5's Feature race, hosted at Taupo Motorsports Park in New Zealand tomorrow, Sunday 20th January.
Wickens earlier captured eighth on the grid for Sunday morning's shorter Sprint race, the Canadian charger now with four top-ten starts to his credit in just six races representing his country in the winter-based, nation versus nation open-wheel racing series. With Canada currently sitting 13th in the A1GP Nations Standings, the team is seeking a strong double points score tomorrow to improve its standing amongst the 22 competing nations with this weekend's Kiwi outing the half-way stage in the title fight.
Utilizing two new sets of tires for his two Sprint qualifying runs, Robert's second effort of 1m16.201s sealed eighth on the grid with home-favorite Jonny Reid snatching pole. Wickens improved his best lap time to 1m15.922s on old rubber for his first Feature run before going faster still and capturing fourth on the Feature grid on his last tour on new tires with a 1m15.588s lap around the 3.5km track.
"Canada's goal going into every weekend is to score points and improve our overall position," Wickens remarked post-qualifying. "I think we've set ourselves up well for this weekend. I need to get a good start in the Sprint and in the Feature we need to try and make it through to the finish. The team work really hard on their pit stops and unfortunately I haven't given them the chance to do one yet in a Feature race so I'm definitely going to try my hardest and aim for the podium!"
Simon Cayzer, Canada's Team Manager reflected, "I'm very happy! The balance of the car at the start of the session was reasonable but we were struggling for grip. We made some changes and worked with Robert to advance. We're that much closer to the front now and in good company, exactly where Canada needs to be. We have a good chance to fight for solid points tomorrow!"
Sunday's 20-minute Sprint race starts at 11am local time on Sunday (5pm EST Saturday 19th January) with the 70-minute Feature race starting at 3pm in New Zealand (9pm EST Saturday 19th January).
Setanta Sports Canada will broadcast Round 5 live starting at 8pm EST on Saturday 19th January and again on Monday 21st January as a tape-delay at 8am EST.