Kiwi A1GP driver, Earl Bamber, admits Team New Zealand is doing some head-scratching after a weekend of mixed fortunes in last weekend’s round of the 2008/2008 World Cup of Motorsport
And some of it involves the on-track behaviour of Malaysian driver, Fairuz Faury, who hit the back of Black Beauty early in the Feature race at Kyalami, South Africa, pitching Bamber into retirement.
But the head-scratching is also going on after the Kiwi car’s relative lack of pace in the Feature after a strong showing in the Sprint race where Bamber started 12th and finished eighth.
“Going into Turn 12, (in the Feature race, Faury) drilled us from behind and that was the end of our race,” said the Wanganui teenager
“Our pace in the Feature wasn’t that great – we’re scratching our heads about that a little.
“We had a good race car for the Sprint race, and we set the sixth quickest lap time. The team did a great job in the pitstop.”
Initially Bamber fell to fifth in the Feature, but aggressive late-braking brought him back to third by the entry to the first corner.
Ireland’s Adam Carroll’s race ended early, after contact with Faury, who began to pour the pressure on third-placed Bamber.
But on lap four of 40, Faury crashed into the rear of Black Beauty under brakes, spinning Bamber into a gravel trap, beaching the car and ending his race.
Swiss Neel Jani won the Feature, from Felipe Guimaraes (Brazil) and Monaco’s Clivio Piccione.
Jeroen Bleekemolen (Holland) who won the Sprint race, finished fourth.
Bamber worked his way 10th on lap one of the Sprint race while Bleekemolen opened up a huge lead.
Team NZ’s slick pitwork gained Bamber two more places and an eighth place finish. Bleekemolen won, from Felipe Albuquerque (Portugal), Jani and Carroll.
After taking only one point at Kyalami, New Zealand remains sixth in the championship with Switzerland the new championship leader.
Team NZ manager, John Sears, says the outfit is “very disappointed with our result. Most teams in front of us in the championship got some decent points. We were hoping for a podium.”