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Wattie to drive Ireland's A1 car

NEWS STORY
22/09/2006

Northern Ireland's John 'Wattie' Watson is set to get behind the wheel of A1 Team Ireland's 550bhp A1GP car for a 30 minute run on Friday 29th September at Zandvoort on the opening day of the new A1GP World Cup of Motorsport season.

The former Grand Prix driver and Sky Sports commentator reported on the inaugural A1GP series but now has his chance to actually put one of the cars through its paces. The last time Watson drove at Zandvoort was in 1983 when he partnered team mate Niki Lauda at McLaren.

Runner up in the 1982 Formula One World Championship, John Watson is well known to A1 Team Ireland's Managing Director, Mark Gallagher, as the two worked together during Gallagher's time at Jordan Grand Prix. Watson was the first to test the Jordan 191 in the autumn of 1990, the car going on to be the first Formula One car driven by seven times F1 World Champion, Michael Schumacher.

"To see John driving the A1 Team Ireland car is going to be a great moment for all the team and for those of us who followed his highly successful F1 career," said Gallagher. "But most of all, it is going to give A1GP fans a fascinating insight."

"I vividly remember watching John win the British Grand Prix at Silverstone in 1981, which was the first Grand Prix I attended. It's great news that he has agreed to have this short run in our car, particularly at Zandvoort - a track where he raced in Formula One and which has a famous history."

"It's one thing being a commentator and entirely another to drive one of these cars and therefore give the fans a totally different perspective," said Watson. "It is a unique opportunity for me as a broadcaster to talk the fans through a lap while actually driving a car and I'm sure it will make for compelling viewing. I am certainly looking forward to it."

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