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SA team gears up for Portuguese A1

2005-10-18 11:36

The first two rounds of the series, the only one in the motor sport world that pits nation against nation, featured close and exciting racing with Brazil coming out on top in round one in Great Britain in September and France taking the honours in round two in Germany two weeks ago.

South Africa, with 21-year-old Stephen Simpson at the wheel, scored five points with a sixth place in the feature race at Brands Hatch in England, while Tomas Scheckter endured a frustrating weekend at EuroSpeedway in Germany to come away pointless after problems with the car.

He was 12th out of 24 in the sprint race, but was forced to retire from the feature race.

Brazil, France and New Zealand have emerged as the front runners to date,certainly in terms of points scored, but others to watch are Great Britain, the United States and Germany.

Maximum of three drivers

Nations may enter a maximum of three drivers for each event with one nominated ahead of each practice session.

Only one driver may be nominated for qualifying, while teams may nominate different drivers for the two races. Scheckter is expected to represent his country in Portugal with Simpson acting as alternative driver.

"We realise that the South African public must be disappointed with our team's performance at EuroSpeedway," said Mike Carroll, sporting and technical manager of A1 Grand Prix Team South Africa.

"We're very disappointed too, but we have learnt a lot and will be closely examining all the performance variables in an effort to determine what the problem is when we get to Portugal and have access to our cars."

"We'll be able to run our second car for the first time this weekend and this will give us valuable comparative data.

"Rest assured, we will be doing our very best in Portugal this weekend to make all South Africans proud."

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