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Jonny to race A1GP Black Beauty this weekend


New Zealand international Jonny Reid gets his turn behind the wheel of Team.New Zealand's A1GP car at the second round of the 2006/07 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport series at the Brno Circuit in the Czech Republic.

And to say the Auckland-born 23-year-old is looking forward to it is an understatement.

"I can't wait," he said en route to the Czech Republic today."It was good getting back into the car (dubbed Black Beauty by the team) at the test at Silverstone, and it is going to be even better at an actual race meeting."

Reid, with single-seater series race wins in Australia, Europe and Japan currently one of New Zealand's most successful young racing drivers, set the third fastest time at the official A1GP test at Silverstone in the UK late last month and says that he will be pushing for a podium finish this weekend.

"It was a strong test, for sure, and there's definitely confidence there knowing that I'm going to be driving a good car with a strong engineer and team. Probably the single most important thing I'm going to take into this weekend is the knowledge that there was definitely more in the car at the test and that I know that with further work we can get it even better."

South Africa was the big surprise at the first round of the 2006/07 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport at Zandvoort in The Netherlands last weekend, team driver Adrian Zaugg qualifying quickest and winning the Sprint race from second fastest qualifier, Team Mexico's Salvador Duran, and defending champion France's Nicholas Lapierre.

It was Team Germany's Nico Hulkenberg who won the Feature race however from Team USA's Phil Giebler and Team Australia's Ryan Briscoe.

Sprint race winner South Africa's car was slow away from pole position and driver Zaugg's race was over early after clashing with Team Great Britain's Darren Manning on the way into the first corner.

Team New Zealand driver Halliday set the 10th fastest qualifying time but was able to start the Sprint race from P9 (because a car in front was relegated to the rear of the grid over a technical issue) and brought Black Beauty home in sixth position.

However, in the Feature race, a jammed wheel nut saw Team.New Zealand have an agonisingly slow pit stop, dropping Halliday from a starting position of six and an early race high of fourth, back to 11th at the flag.

This weekend Reid says he will be aiming to qualify well so that he can run with the likes of Germany, South Africa and Great Britain at the front in both the Sprint and Feature races.

"It's going to be important to nail a good lap, that's for sure. The standard of competition is definitely higher this year - as we've seen already both at the test and at Zandvoort - but having said that, I know what I have to do so we've got a good platform to work from going into the weekend."

Reid also has first hand experience of the 14 corner 5.4 km Brno circuit in the south-eastern corner of the Czech Republic.

He raced an F3000 car there when he competed in the Superfund European F3000 series in 2004, and rates it as one of his favourite circuits.

" It's a real driver's circuit, quite smooth but with a lot of elevation change, lots a crests and some very high speed corners. I like it and I think we can go really well there."

Thanks to Team.New Zealand seat holder, the Auckland-based Giltrap Group, Reid will also be arriving in the Czech Republic in appropriate style, behind the wheel of the latest Skoda Octavia V-RS turbo diesel, a high performance, environmentally-friendly sports saloon produced by the company that now owns the Skoda brand name, Volkswagen.

Skoda, as any car enthusiast will tell you, is one of the Czech Republic's most famous marques!

This season's A1 GP World Cup of Motorsport promises to be even bigger and better than last season's with every ticket sold for the first round at Zandvoort and a number of new and exciting venues, including New Zealand's Taupo Motorsport Park, which will host the sixth round of the 2006/07 series over the January 20/21 weekend.

New Zealand finished fourth overall in the 2006/07 championship with Halliday and Reid sharing the driving duties.

2006/07 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport Series
Rnd 1 October 01 2006 Circuit Park Zandvoort The Netherlands
Rnd 2 October 08 2006 Brno Czech Republic
Rnd 3 November 05 2006 Beijing China
Rnd 4 November 26 2006 Sepang International Circuit Malaysia
Rnd 5 December 16 2006 Dubai Autodrome United Arab Emirates
Rnd 6 January 21 2007 Taupo Motorsport Park New Zealand
Rnd 7 February 04 2007 venue tba Sydney Australia
Rnd 8 March 11 or 18 2007 venue tba America
Rnd 9 March 25 2007 venue tba Mexico
Rnd 10 April 08 2007 venue tba Indonesia
Rnd 11 April 15 2007 Shanghai Circuit China
Rnd 12 (Final) April 29 2007 Brand Hatch Great Britain

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