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Clarke scores first points for GBR.

Team Great Britain recovered from a tough start to the Portimao A1GP weekend as Dan Clarke scored his first points for his country in a typically exciting encounter on the new Autodromo Internacional do Algarve to provide a morale boost for an operation that went into administration last month.

The former Champ Car driver had been playing catch up following technical issues on Friday which left him with precious little running, and Saturday's qualifying session had subsequently resulted in 13th place on the grid for the sprint race and 16th for the feature. The first race of the weekend offered little respite either, with Clarke making up one position by the end of the opening lap, but losing it again in the restart melee following an early safety car.

He pitted as soon as the window opened and, after each of the teams had made their mandatory stops, was up again, lying twelfth. However, any thoughts of further progressed were banished when the red flag was flown for a multi-car accident, halting the race early, with the GBR car still outside the points.

“I didn't capitalise on the start as much as I could have, but I managed to stay out of trouble and turn some consistent laps, learn more about the car and bring it home ready for the feature race,” Clarke commented.

Further drama marked the start of the main race, and came on the warm-up lap with the Netherlands' Robert Doornbos pulling off with an electrical fire. Despite gaining one position as a result of the Dutchman's misfortune, Clarke did not make the best of starts, but still improved to 14th by the end of the opening lap. Over the next few laps, he kept moving forward, and was up to eleventh when the first pit window opened.

The British team opted to stay out on track while the leaders pitted, with Clarke taking his mandatory stop a few laps later. With a quick tyre change from his crew, he maintained his position as the race reached half-distance and then moved steadily forward through the second part, finally taking the chequered flag in seventh place.

“I'm pleased that we scored points today," he concluded, "If I'd been told on Friday that we'd finish seventh, I wouldn't have believed it, so we managed to turn it around today.

"All the changes we made kept improving the car and I was learning and using it as a test session as well as a race, so it's been very productive. We've definitely made progress which will help towards the Brands Hatch event, which is at a circuit I know well. As a home race, I want to do well in front of the fans and I think we now have a good foundation for this.”

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Dan Clarke in action in Portugal [Pic credit: A1GP]
James Winslow mans the jack for Team GBR at Taupo   [pic credit: A1GP]
James Winslow - Team GBR   [pic credit: A1GP]
James Winslow - Team GBR   [pic credit: A1GP]
James Winslow - Team GBR   [pic credit: A1GP]
Team GBR team principal Katie Clements with the British A1GP car adorned with Bruce Nivison`s name in Chengdu, China in 2008
Great Britain Oliver Jarvis up on the podium in Durban in 2008 [pic credit: A1GP Media]
[L-R] Neel Jani, Robert Wickens and Oliver Jarvis celebrate up on the 2008 A1GP Durban sprint race podium [pic credit: A1GP Media]
Switzerland`s Neel Jani and Great Britain`s Oliver Jarvis at the end of the 2008 A1GP sprint race in Durban [pic credit: A1GP Media]
Great Britain`s Oliver Jarvis in A1GP action in Durban, South Africa [pic credit: A1GP Media]
Great Britain A1GP ace Oliver Jarvis [pic credit: A1GP Media]
Great Britain A1GP ace Oliver Jarvis [pic credit: A1GP Media]
A1 Team GBR`s Robbie Kerr celebrates up on the podium in Eastern Creek, Australia, round six of the 2007/08 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport [pic credit: A1GP Media]
Great Britain`s Robbie Kerr [left] and Switzerland`s Neel Jani celebrate after the 2007/08 A1GP feature race at Eastern Creek [pic credit: A1GP Media]
James Winslow - Team GBR   [pic credit: A1GP]
James Winslow - Team GBR   [pic credit: A1GP]
Robbie Kerr - Team GBR   [pic credit: A1GP]
Robbie Kerr - Team GBR   [pic credit: A1GP]

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