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Watson returns to the wheel

NEWS STORY
29/09/2006

John Watson returned to the wheel of a racing car in Zandvoort, Holland, today when the 5-times Grand Prix winner from Northern Ireland completed half a dozen laps of the Dutch track at the wheel of A1 Team Ireland's grand prix car. The former McLaren F1 star, and runner up in the 1982 Formula One World Championship, was giving television viewers a unique insight into the 550bhp A1GP machines, Watson being part of the commentary team on Sky Sports for the World Cup of Motorsport.

With the 12-race A1GP series set to start at the famous Zandvoort circuit on Sunday in front of a capacity crowd, Watson was invited to drive the Irish team's car and jumped at the opportunity to bring fans and viewers a unique perspective. Despite not having driven in anger for some years he was soon up to speed and in three flying laps was setting laps times close to those of the young A1GP stars who participated in the first 'Rookie' Practice Session.

"I must say the car was quite straightforward to drive, only the steering is a little heavier than I expected, but the engine is great and I must say it feels good out on the circuit," said Watson. "I haven't raced at Zandvoort since 1983 so the track's changed quite a bit and I had to learn my way around, but I experienced enough of the car to be impressed by it and understand more of what's involved in driving it."

"It was great to see John's famous red and silver helmet back behind the wheel of a top level racing car," said A1 Team Ireland's Team Principal Mark Gallagher. "For Irish motor racing fans who recall John's terrific career in Formula One it's good to see that he lost none of his touch and certainly seemed to enjoy the experience. It was an honour for the team to have him try out car out, and I hope it will help John give viewers a greater insight into what the A1GP cars are really like."

To check out our Zandvoort Friday gallery, click here

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