The A1 Grand Prix of Nations will conclude the first half of its inaugural season in Dubai this weekend. And, following an encouraging performance in Malaysia, Stephen Simpson of Team SA hopes to strike black gold in the United Arab Emirates.
The A1 Grand Prix of Nations will conclude the first half of its inaugural season in Dubai this weekend. And, following an encouraging performance in Malaysia, Stephen Simpson of Team South Africa hopes to strike black gold in the United Arab Emirates.
As has become tradition for the World Cup of Motorsport, A1 Grand Prix series founder Sheikh Maktoum, the 28-year-old member of Dubai’s ruling family, will bring the cars under starter’s orders in arguably be the most significant motorsport event that has ever been staged in the Emirates.
Furthermore, the Dubai Autodrome is one of the most challenging circuits in the world and was the first FIA-sanctioned track to incorporate wide asphalt run-off areas rather than gravel traps. It is a clockwise, 5,39-km circuit with 16 turns and a state of the art grandstand that holds over 7 000 spectators.
Team South Africa has nominated 21-year-old Capetonian Stephen Simpson to pilot Vulindlela in Dubai. Gauteng’s Gavin Cronje, 25, will be the team’s reserve driver for the event.
“I’m really looking forward to racing on the Dubai Autodrome. It’s a very technical circuit from all accounts but, like Sepang in Malaysia, it has generous run-off areas and a wide track,” Simpson said. “We saw how this resulted in the best racing of the series in Malaysia and I’m sure we’ll have more of the same in Dubai.”
Team South Africa have recently “shown encouraging progress from a pace perspective since the opening round at Brands Hatch in England in September”, said Mike Carroll, sporting and technical manager of Team South Africa.
“At Brands Hatch we were more than two per cent slower than pole position and qualified 15th out of the 25 national teams. At the last race at Sepang in Malaysia we qualified 13th but were only 0,8 per cent slower than pole position.
“The tighter grids will mean that small gains in pace will play a more significant role in determining qualifying position and generally speaking you end up racing where you qualify. Our drivers and technical team will once again be focussed on working hard to try and achieve some further gains in pace,” he added.
Meanwhile, Team South Africa chief executive Dana Cooper has predicted “we will be in the points in Dubai this weekend.”
The SABC will broadcast Saturday’s qualifying live from noon to 2pm and Sunday’s two races live from 11am to 2.30pm.
Original article from Car