New Sasol GTC cars set for thrills

The iconic Grand Prix Circuit will present a new challenge to the GTC drivers as they tackle the country’s fastest racetrack on June 16.

Suzuki’s new Swift hatch and sedan in SA

Suzuki kicks off its new model assault with an all new Swift hatchback and standalone sedan called the Dzire.

A1 GP: Tough test at Laguna

2006-03-09 17:58

South Africa's Stephen Simpson, along with the other drivers representing their countries in this 'World Cup of Motorsport', will be testing their bravery in Laguna Seca's infamous 'Corkscrew' turn 8.

Laguna Seca, a two-hour drive south of San Francisco and just a few km from Monterey on the Pacific coast of the United States at the southern end of Monterey Bay, is a name that evokes excitement among race fans around the world.

A 3.6 km circuit that twists and rears through changes in elevation, its 11 turns include the infamous 'Corkscrew', an incredible curling downhill series of turns.

Its entrance is a blind brow and the instant the driver crests it the circuit snaps left, then suddenly right again in a vicious 'S'.

"I'm really looking forward to racing at Laguna Seca," says Simpson.

'Favours the brave'

"I'm told it's a circuit that favours the brave and, having watched Champ Cars and World Super Bikes racing there on television back home in South Africa, I'll be giving it a lot of respect in the beginning.

"However, with just two races remaining in this first season of A1, we are not in contention in the championship, so we won't be holding back.

"We were not happy about losing our first pole position in Mexico or the manner in which this was done, but we took our punishment on the chin and now we're even more determined than ever to score our first win.

"We clearly demonstrated we had the fastest car in Monterrey and we worked hard for our first pole position. With a bit more luck we can turn our next pole into South Africa's first win or at least another podium finish," said the 22-year-old from Cape Town.

Team South Africa CEO Dana Cooper is as positive as her young driver.

"Stephen handled the extreme ups and downs of the weekend in Mexico with maturity and grace. He was a credit to his country and we're all very proud of him.

Deserved better

"He deserved better and the whole team is as determined as he is that we look forwards and channel all our energy into achieving our best results in the last two race weekends.

"Stephen is one of the young drivers who have really grown over the last six months and who have illustrated one of the many strengths of this unique motor racing series," says Cooper.

"It has given him the opportunity to hone his skills, be noticed and represent his country. He has achieved all of these with distinction and I'm sure his fellow South Africans are equally proud of him."

  • Saturday's qualifying will be broadcast live on SABC3 from 00h00 to 02h00 and Sunday's two races live from 2300 to 02h30 (SA time).

    Points after nine rounds of 11:

    1 France 153; 2 Switzerland 121; 3 Great Britain 73; 4 Brazil 70; 5 Netherlands 69; 6 New Zealand 64; 7 Malaysia 53; 8 Portugal 51; 9 Ireland 50; 10 Canada 44; 16 South Africa 20.


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