Manning raring to lead A1 Team GBR London, England (September 26, 2006) -- As the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport heads into its second season this weekend with 24 nations lining up at Circuit Park Zandvoort in Holland, Friday 29th September -- ...
Manning raring to lead A1 Team GBR
London, England (September 26, 2006) -- As the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport heads into its second season this weekend with 24 nations lining up at Circuit Park Zandvoort in Holland, Friday 29th September -- Sunday 1st October, A1 Team Great Britain will see its opening round challenge spearheaded by former BAR-Honda F1 test driver and Indy Racing League racer, Darren Manning. Manning (31) picks up where he left off as his sole start in A1GP came at the season finale of the inaugural series in China back in April.
On that occasion the Yorkshire ace powered his way to an impressive second place podium debut in the Sprint event, helping A1 Team GBR to seal third overall in the Nations Standings behind World Champion's A1 Team France and A1 Team Switzerland. Manning's podium finish, combined with Robbie Kerr's seven podiums through the first ten rounds of the 2005-06 season, made for an impressive tally but an A1GP victory eluded the British outfit last year, a fact A1 Team GBR Team Principal John Surtees is keen to rectify as soon as possible: "With the new structure of the team firmly in place, centered on a sound engineering base headed by James Robinson, who notably brings a wealth of experience from Formula One as well as from last season's A1GP championship, A1 Team GBR now has the foundation to go out and start winning races.
Darren will take the lead this weekend in Holland with Oliver Jarvis coming in on Friday to undertake the rookie sessions. Both drivers did an excellent job in pre-season testing and I'm looking forward to a strong performance to get the new season of A1GP underway!'
Last month's official pre-season test at Silverstone was the first outing for A1 Team GBR in its new guise, the team now being run 'in-house' with Paul Bellringer overseeing operations in his expanded role as Team Manager. The two-day test saw all three A1 Team GBR drivers score seat time with Darren Manning and Robbie Kerr (27) back in familiar surroundings, building on last year's experiences, while 2005 Formula Renault UK Champion and McLaren Autosport BRDC Driver of the Year, Cambridgeshire's Oliver Jarvis (22), continued his education in just his second test driving the 550bhp V8-powered A1GP car.
Having been a front-runner in the Champ Car World Series and Indy Racing League, Manning served notice of intent by posting A1 Team GBR at the top of the timesheets in the second afternoon of pre-season testing. With prior experience racing at the Dutch 2.6-mile Circuit Park Zandvoort having raced there previously in Formula Three, Darren's eager to lead the British charge this weekend: "I'm going to Zandvoort looking to win! To get on the podium for A1 Team GBR in China was a brilliant feeling but I want to take us onto the next step of the podium having come so close last season.
"I'm heading into the weekend armed with more seat time in the A1GP car and knowing we've got the pace to run at the front based on our experiences in testing, we're all set to get this thing started!"
Oliver Jarvis, currently second in the 2006 British Formula Three Championship, will take part in Friday afternoon's 'Rookie Sessions' before handing over to Darren Manning for the rest of the weekend. Sunday's A1GP Sprint race starts at 11am CET with the Feature race starting at 3pm CET.