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Brno Preview: Team Canada

NEWS STORY
04/10/2006

This weekend's second round of the 2006-07 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport, hosted at the Auto Motodrom near Brno in the Czech Republic, Friday 6th – Sunday 8th October, sees A1 Team Canada primed to go with Vancouver's Sean McIntosh (right) returning to national duty for the first time since scoring February's Feature win in Indonesia during the inaugural A1GP season with Toronto's James Hinchcliffe (19) similarly present following his debut for the Canadian team in last Sunday's season-opener in Holland before a 75,000-strong Dutch crowd.

In all 23 nations lined up on the grid at Circuit Park Zandvoort for the opening round of the new A1GP season, the championship pitching nation against nation during motorsport's traditional off-season from October through to April in identical 550bhp, V8-powered A1GP open-wheel race cars. A1 Team Canada, with Hinchcliffe the sole driver in attendance last weekend, got off to an encouraging start looking to build on the team's 10th place finish in last season's Nations Standings. Despite his rookie status, the young Canadian topped the timesheets in official Friday practice ahead of former Indy Racing League driver Darren Manning in the British entry.

Hinchcliffe's starts for A1 Team Canada netted eighth and 13th place finishes respectively in Sunday's Sprint and Feature races. The sell-out event in Holland heralded two new nations celebrating victories as Adrian Zaugg won the Sprint race for A1 Team South Africa while A1 Team Germany triumphed in the Feature race, to subsequently lead the standings, courtesy of Niko Hülkenberg's efforts conquering the challenging conditions brought on by the ever-changing weather.

Round 2, hosted at the 5.41km Auto Motodrom near Brno, situated 200km south of the Czech Republic's capital city Prague, sees Hinchcliffe take to the track for Friday's rookie session before handing over A1 Team Canada's entry to Sean McIntosh for the hour-long official practice session later that day.

McIntosh, who currently sits sixth overall in his rookie season in the 2006 World Series by Renault, is looking ahead to his A1GP return:

"I can't believe it's been seven months since I actually last raced in A1GP. I couldn't attend Zandvoort last week due to a clash with my World Series commitments but I'm excited to be here in the Czech Republic and look forward to working with the team and getting back out and running the car in anger in Friday's official practice session."

James Hinchcliffe, a race winner and highest placed Canadian in the 2006 Champ Car Atlantic Championship, is equally keen to get back behind the wheel following a promising debut in Holland: "Zandvoort was certainly an education, obviously the highlight was the pace we demonstrated in Friday practice but overall we had a competitive car throughout the weekend, it's just unfortunate that due to certain circumstances, chiefly the weather, it's not reflected our final results. I want to take what I learned last time out and put it back into practice here in Brno this weekend."

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