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DATE News (chronologically)
04/11/08
a1gp
8 teams have chance at A1GP title
Eight teams can still mathematically take the 2007/08 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport championship – but in reality this season’s title climax will probably involve just four.

The situation going into this weekend’s penultimate rounds in Shanghai is in stark contrast to the first two seasons of A1GP, where the title was all but over at this stage. But in what is the closest season yet, the leading teams have it all to play for with four races remaining.

There is a maximum 16 points up for grabs in every race if a team takes the race win and scores the fastest lap. So that means that any team within 64 points of the leader still has a theoretical shot of taking the title.

A1 Team Points Behind SUI Wins
1 Switzerland 128 3
2 New Zealand 113 -15 4
3 France 108 -20 1
4 Great Britain 95 -33 1
5 South Africa 88 -40 2
6 Netherlands 80 -48 0
7 Germany 77 -51 2
8 Ireland 73 -55 1

Realistically however – only four have a decent shot at it. Switzerland is the favorite with a 15-point lead over the rest of the pack, but New Zealand, France or even Great Britain could overhaul it.

New Zealand leads the challengers, and Jonny Reid knows this weekend will be crucial in gaining ground. Reid was superb in Shanghai last season, taking the Feature race win and finishing second in the Sprint race. A repeat performance would blow the title race wide open heading into Brands Hatch on Sunday 4 May.

France, having failed to score last time out in Mexico, has called-up former Formula One driver Franck Montagny to lead its charge in the final two events. It is a bold step to remove Jonathan Cochet, who was gaining experience in the French car, but Montagny’s pace in other categories of racing could mean it’s a risk worth taking.

Great Britain is not out of it yet, either. It did seem as if it was all over for GBR at one stage, particularly after a disastrous Sprint race in Australia, when it was eighth in the standings and 48 points off the lead. But four podium finishes in the last five races has vaulted it back up the leaderboard. It also has the form book on its side – Robbie Kerr won twice and had two runner-up spots in the final four races last season. A repeat performance in the corresponding races this season, combined with a bit of misfortune for its rivals, could yet see GBR being a title threat.

There is one other possibility – in that Switzerland could itself have a superb weekend in Shanghai, and clinch the title this weekend. However, it is a big ask, because Max Welti’s squad has to have a 33-point lead, or greater, after Sunday’s Feature race to clinch the title with two races to spare.

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