Weather spices up Hinchcliffe's debut for A1 Team Canada Zandvoort, Holland (October 1, 2006) -- Toronto's James Hinchcliffe enjoyed a mixed debut driving for A1 Team Canada in the opening round of the 2006-07 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport in ...
Weather spices up Hinchcliffe's debut for A1 Team Canada
Zandvoort, Holland (October 1, 2006) -- Toronto's James Hinchcliffe enjoyed a mixed debut driving for A1 Team Canada in the opening round of the 2006-07 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport in Holland today. An encouraging eighth place finish, from a field of 23 competing nations, in the 20-minute Sprint race preceded a tumultuous Feature race for the 19-year-old, where the weather, and in particular an early race thunder storm, ultimately thwarted plans for back-to-back top-ten finishes for the Canadian rookie.
Sprint Race, 12 laps (Winner -- A1 Team South Africa, Adrian Zaugg)
Hinchcliffe held off a spirited race-long charge from home-favorite Jeroen Bleekemolen in the A1 Team Holland entry to score an eighth place finish for A1 Team Canada on his A1GP debut. Gaining a position before the race, moving up to seventh following A1 Team Switzerland's post-qualifying penalty, James took the start and headed for the first of Zandvoort's 11-turns. He dropped back to eighth on the first lap but a feisty performance from the rookie saw him withstand the pressure from the Dutch car to hold station for the duration of the Sprint. A late-race sideways 'moment' failed to phase the Canadian and he took the checkered in eighth, just two places shy of the points.
Feature Race, 41 laps (Winner -- A1 Team Germany, Nico Hulkenberg)
Starting eighth on the grid for the Feature race, Hinchcliffe led the A1 Team Canada car to sixth by the end of the first lap. Up to fifth just before the mandatory pit window opened, a safety car period immediately followed forcing James to pit later than planned and unfortunately as mixed overhead conditions complicated proceedings. Opting for slick tires, the heavens subsequently opened forcing the Canadian entry back to the pits for a set of wets, James losing ground to those who made the call for wets on their first stop.
Gingerly racing his way towards the top-ten, Hinchcliffe survived a brief run through the gravel at Turn 1 half-way through the race to keep the charge going only to see track conditions improve again as the sun returned. Back in the pits for a third visit on lap 30, this time for a set of slicks, James resumed his charge and climbed as high as 11th before taking 13th at the flag when the race was called on time and not the scheduled 45-lap running.
"Well it was a very eventful afternoon! We got off to a great start and I was up to P6 by the end of the first lap and hounding New Zealand. Unfortunately after my pit stop we had to come back for wet tires which dropped us back. The car was great at the start so we know we have a good footing, we just got caught out by the weather today and effectively threw in an extra pit stop which hurt us."
Round 2 of the 2006-07 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport takes place next weekend, Friday 6th -- Sunday 8th October, at Brno in the Czech Republic -- www.a1gp.com