Ireland Takes Taupo Sprint Victory
Taupo, New Zealand – A1 Team Ireland’s Adam Carroll converted pole position into victory in the Sprint race at Taupo Motorsport Park this morning, extending the team’s lead at the top of the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport standings.
Switzerland’s Neel Jani finished second after a great pit stop from the team helped bump him up the order, from fourth on the grid. The Netherlands’ Robert Doornbos finished third, ahead of France’s Loïc Duval. Home driver for A1 Team New Zealand, Chris van der Drift, brought Black Beauty home in fifth place.
Adam Carroll made a perfect getaway from the standing start to lead the pack into the first turn, and make an early break from the rest of the field. Doornbos also had a clean start from alongside him on the front row with the top five holding position as they completed the first lap. New Zealand had a slow start, much to the disappointment of the home crowd, while Great Britain’s Dan Clarke, Brazil’s Felipe Guimarães, USA’s Marco Andretti and Monaco’s Clivio Piccione all lost time on the first lap.
Ireland was the first team to dive into the pits and a slick stop from the crew helped retain the advantage. Switzerland’s fantastic work in the pits got Jani out two-seconds faster than the Irish crew, bringing him out right behind the emerald green car.
Doornbos stayed out an extra lap before pitting, but a slow getaway lost him time bringing him out in third. After making a good start, Portugal also lost out in the pit stops, dropping down to seventh from what looked to be a strong podium finish.
Australia’s John Martin made up a position off the start and was looking strong before Martin clipped the inside tire barrier and damaged his front wishbone as well as the camera recording his indiscretion, leaving him to cruise back to the pit lane to retire.
With five-laps to go Jani began to slightly reduce the gap but a faultless drive from Carroll saw the Celtic Tiger take victory for the third time this season.
“It was a great race obviously from pole to win,” said Carroll. “I am very, very happy and just have to go and try and do it all again.”
Commenting on the circuit, he continued: “It is a hard little circuit and easy to make mistakes. If you push hard, miss your braking or go wide it is really dirty off line. There are some interesting bumps in some quick corners that unsettle the car and you have to work hard all the time.”
Switzerland’s Jani said: “I had to work to get to second, but I think the big job was done by my pit crew this time. That second place definitely is thanks to them.
“At the pit stop I couldn’t really get into the pits very well because Adam (Carroll) was sitting there, so I was not well placed, but they still managed to do a good pit stop and got me up to second. Once I was behind Adam I could keep up with his pace but it was very hard to follow him as he was kicking up some dust and it was getting into my eyes.
“I am a hundred per cent fit now, but obviously I feel the fact that I didn’t do anything for the last 12 days as I was just lying in bed.”
Third-placed Doornbos said: “It was quite okay as for the first time I got a good start, which I was quite happy about after China. Then Adam did a great first lap and I found it very slippery. I then closed the gap and just before the pit stops I was right on his tail. The team told me he had the advantage to pit one lap earlier so I had to really push but I was going well.
“When I was on the in-lap the pit limiter just dropped me down to 20 instead of 60. The pit stop went okay I think, but then as I went to pull away we had the same glitch with the software that went into anti-stall, and just would not get first gear. The seconds felt like minutes and I think I lost four or five crucial seconds. I am happy to have a podium but I am always looking for more. I like A1GP because you have two chances.”
Flag Be sure to be back here later on this afternoon (01:00 GMT) to watch LIVE video coverage of the Feature race and watch the Sprint race in full. There is so much more to come from Taupo!
Flag Adam Carroll is a happy man! Ireland extends it's championship lead
Flag Ireland wins its third race of the season with a 1.488-second margin. Switzerland was second, but also secured the fastest lap. Netherlands was third, ahead of France, New Zealand, Portugal, Italy and Malaysia.
Lap 15 Ireland looks set for the win here.
Lap 14 Marco Andretti is having to defend 12th place hard from Great Britain's Dan Clarke. It's an exciting battle.
Lap 14 Congfu Cheng has spun the Chinese car out of the race at Turn 11. He's stuck in the gravel.
Lap 13 Carroll has responded and has pulled the lead back to 1.2 seconds.
Lap 12 Portugal's Filipe Albuquerque went down the inside of Italy's Edoardo Piscopo for 6th place at the tight Turn 12. Looks like he used PowerBoost.
Lap 11 Neel Jani has got the gap down to 1.0 seconds. He has just set the fastest lap of the race. We have a battle for the lead here with four laps to go!
Lap 10 Adam Carroll only has a lead of 1.2 seconds, with Neel Jani pushing him hard now.
Lap 8 Lebanon are out of the race with broken suspension.
Lap 7 Brazil are leading, but they haven't stopped yet. Ireland is second, Switzerland third followed by Netherlands, France, New Zealand, Italy, Portugal, Malaysia.
Lap 7 Australia has a broken front wishbone. John Martin hit the tire barrier on the inside of Turn 12.
Lap 6 Something has happened to Australia. John Martin has fallen to 19th.
Lap 5 Netherlands now come into the pits. It's a good stop, but he is slow away leaving the pits. Ireland and Switzerland both pass the Netherlands.
Lap 4 Ireland and Switzerland pit. Ireland was slightly slow away and the Swiss has made up a bit of time. Robert Doornbos has stayed out on track.
Lap 4 Robert Doornbos has just set the fastest lap. He has cut the gap to 1.5 seconds.
Lap 4 China makes a move on Indonesia for 16th.
Lap 4 Brazil and Monaco are under investigation.
Lap 3 So the order is Ireland, Netherlands, Portugal, Switzerland, France, Australia, Italy, Malaysia and New Zealand.
Lap 2 Adam Carroll already has a 1.8-second lead. It is already looking like Ireland's day.
Lap 2 Marco Andretti has moved the USA car the order to 14th.
Lap 1 Ireland is now building up a lead. It's Netherlands and Portugal behind. Ireland and Brazil have tangled on the first lap.
Lap 1 New Zealand has lost lots of places at Turn 2.
Lap 1 Ireland's Adam Carroll gets away well at the start.
Lap 1 And away we go!
11:00 New Zealand's Chris van der Drift is slow away at the start of the formation lap. But he has got himself away now. The Taupo crowd breathes a sigh of relief.
10:59 Just seconds to go before the cars leave for their formation lap. Remember, today's Sprint race will use a standing start.
10:45 15 minutes to go. The sun is starting to come out, but which nation will it shine on today?
10:30 Why not send in your questions for our podcast panel later on? Email anything you like to firstname.lastname@example.org
10:28 Ireland may be on pole for both races, but it's no foregone conclusion that they will score two victories today. Anything can happen in A1GP!
10:20 It's slightly cloudy and overcast here, but we're getting set for an awesome day of A1GP action.
10:20 Good morning and welcome to Taupo Motorsports Park
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