New Zealand racing driver Matt Halliday is in China where he will represent New Zealand in the third round of the A1GP series to be held on a 3.1km temporary street circuit in Beijing this weekend.
A1GP will become the first-ever motorsport series to race in Beijing when the cars take to the street circuit which is only 20 minutes' drive from the city centre.
The circuit features long straights and a tight hairpin bend that allows just one car at a time. With a new surface and dusty conditions, there could be some spectacular racing as teams fight for position on the narrow track. It is the onset of the Chinese winter and conditions are expected to be variable - expect anything from rain, sleet and freezing temperatures to bright, crisp sunshine. It's also highly possible that the temperatures will be just above freezing.
With a capacity for 25,000 people in the grandstands alone, the race will be the biggest motorsport event the capital has ever witnessed.
Halliday has established a good reputation racing on street circuits and is seeking the opportunity to lift A1TEAM.NZL further up the points table.
It comes after a weekend of mixed fortunes in the first round of the Battery Town Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge at Pukekohe Park raceway last weekend. Matt qualified his Giltrap Prestige sponsored Porsche GT3 on the front row of the starting grid for Saturday's first race but was quickly relegated to the rear of the field after contact with another car soon after the start. He recovered to finish the race in 11th place and was determined to make amends in Sunday's races.
In Sunday's Race Two, Halliday quickly leapt from his 11th grid position to gain 4th place after a few laps of highly spirited driving but after briefly taking third place, dropped back to finish 4th with bodywork rubbing a rear tyre. For the weekend's third and final race, he quickly made amends when a blinding start from 4th on the grid saw him up to 2nd as the cars headed onto the back straight for the first time. For the next few laps, Matt played the fox and eventually pounced for the lead which he was to retain to the chequered flag and record his first win of the 2007 championship:
"I was pleased to pick up a win from a very up and down weekend's racing. The guys at International Motorsport did a good job to ensure I had a car capable of winning so now I can head into the forthcoming A1GP races with some confidence" said Matt after winning the Round One feature race.