NZ's hopes ride with teenaged Earl Bamber in this weekend's A1GP round in South Africa.
Earl Bamber is back in Black Beauty’s cockpit for this weekend’s round of the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport at the Kyalami circuit to South Africa.
It’s Bamber’s final weekend as an A1GP Rookie, a status that gives him extra time to reacquaint himself with the Ferrari-powered A1GP car around Kyalami.
The Wanganui 18-year-old scored a podium double for New Zealand in the opening round of the current series at Zandvoort, Holland.
He replaces Chris van der Drift for the South African round, though NZ A1GP seat holder, Colin Giltrap, insists there’s no dissatisfaction with van Drift after Team NZ’s disappointing outing at Taupo.
Giltrap says selecting Bamber takes nothing away from van der Drift whose Taupo performance was dogged by problems with the car’s brakes and anti-stall computer software.
The team says it’s confident it has a handle on the braking problems, and that A1GP’s technical staff has resolved the software issues after post-race testing at Taupo.
“The decision to put Earl in the car was made between the engineering team and myself,” Giltrap says. We’re confident Earl can do the job for New Zealand in South Africa.
“While Chris (van der Drift) wasn’t able to stand out at Taupo, we still believe he’s a talented driver. The decision to put Earl back in the car has nothing to do with Chris’s ability as a driver.”
Bamber says he’s confident going to Kyalami after an intensive training camp in Britain.
“I feel the fittest I’ve ever been, so combined with a solid review of Taupo I feel we’re in a good place as we head to South Africa.
“As a team we need to make sure we keep banking points, but I’d like to be back on the podium at Kyalami. We can’t forget that the other nations have also made some good progress with the new car.”
New Zealand is currently sixth in the points standings after four rounds.