Challenging debut for A1 Team Brazil and GuimarÃ£es The 2008/09 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport season kicked off today at Zandvoort in the Netherlands, with 17 teams taking to the track for the first race of the campaign. It was always going to...
Challenging debut for A1 Team Brazil and Guimarães
The 2008/09 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport season kicked off today at Zandvoort in the Netherlands, with 17 teams taking to the track for the first race of the campaign.
It was always going to be a challenging debut for A1 Team Brazil, as the squad only received the chassis yesterday morning and Felipe Guimarães had just thirty minutes of track time in the new car before racing. In the Sprint race Felipe was one of eight drivers to fall victim to the treacherous weather conditions and his race ended on lap ten after he aquaplaned into the Armco. Despite the team working frantically to try to repair the car for the afternoon race, it was not possible, and Brazil did not compete in the Feature event, although they were able to complete a handful of test laps towards the end of the race.
The team worked tirelessly on Saturday and through the night to this morning to prepare the newly arrived Brazil car for today's races. Felipe took to the track for the first time this morning at 8.10am, twenty minutes into the special 50-minute session allocated to the four teams who did not run any significant laps yesterday. Conditions were not ideal for the car's debut, with rain showers and heavy winds prevalent throughout the session, leading to on-track spray. Nevertheless, Felipe and the team made the most of the run out ahead of the Sprint race, completing 13 laps and setting a fastest time of 1:46.785.
Due to missing out on yesterday's qualifying, Brazil started the 14- lap Sprint race in 17th position from the pitlane. The race began behind the safety car due to the adverse weather conditions, After two laps the racing got underway and it was a frantic lap three, seeing several incidents involving Ireland, Monaco, Lebanon, Indonesia, Australia and Korea and which put Brazil up into 12th position. The pack settled down over the coming laps until lap ten when the weather worsened. After China and Brazil both aquaplaned into the Armco on separate parts of the track, putting and end to both team's races and causing considerable damage to Brazil's car, the Sprint was red- flagged due to the dangerous conditions.
Round two of the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport will take place at the Chengdu Circuit in China from 7-9 November.
Emerson Fittipaldi, Team Principal: "This has been one of those weekends in racing where the team pulled off a miracle. We only received our car at 9.30 on Saturday morning and the team worked so hard nonstop to get the car ready to race. We went to the first race with Felipe having completed just a few laps this morning in the rain and he was doing a great job trying to finish the race. Unfortunately he aquaplaned off and on the very next lap the race was red-flagged because the conditions were so bad. Two corners of the car were damaged so the team went flat out to try to fix it for the Feature but we ran out of time. I have to say thanks to the organisers who allowed Felipe out to complete a few laps at the end when the car was ready. I am very happy with the team's enthusiasm and hard work, the crew has been outstanding. In my opinion Felipe is a rough diamond and he had to cope with extremely difficult conditions this weekend. He has so much potential and it is our job to work with him over the coming races to bring out his talent."
Felipe Guimarães: "It was really difficult for us this weekend but everyone worked so hard to get us into the position so we could actually race today. I only drove the car for the first time this morning in the wet. Unfortunately we started the Sprint race from the back as we didn't make it for qualifying yesterday and with the limited running it was very hard to set up the car. The conditions were really impossible and I tried so hard to finish the race but I just went off the track and the car was damaged. We tried really hard to make it to the Feature but it wasn't possible. We are just looking forward now to getting some more time in the car and preparing fully for the next race in China."