Richard Lyons claims a strong top ten result on his debut was certainly on the cards were it not for two slow pit stops that cost A1 Team Ireland 'one and a half minutes', leaving them to settle for a disappointing 13th.

Having struggled in qualifying following an off, Lyons was unable to get into his stride over the short 15-lap sprint race, finishing where he had started in 18th.

However, when the heavens opened ahead of the feature race, Lyons was more comfortable in the car and was using his less than optimum position to adopt a risky strategy of switching to slick tyres on a drying surface earlier than many.

A problem in the pit stop though saw any advantage gained from changing to the correct tyres wiped out and although he returned to the circuit to set competitive times, another issue in the second pit stop compounded the team's misery.

Although a late safety car brought the gap back down, Lyons was already a lap behind and therefore unable to get into the points, finishing 13th initially before moving up to 12th when Netherlands were excluded.

Crucially though Lyons had been running with the Czech Republic and Swiss entries who went on to finish comfortably in the points, leaving the former Formula Nippon Champion unsatisfied with his debut outing but nonetheless hoping for more outings.

"We missed out on a good points tally today as a result of the pit stops going wrong, which was gutting because the team has practiced as usual all week only to have a problem when it mattered.

"The conditions at the start of the main race were unbelievable, and I would have preferred to stay out on wets longer than we did. I made up places as best I could, but it's a shame we didn't get the 6th or 7th place we were on for. It's been great to race in A1GP and I'd love to do it again."

Team principal Mike Gallagher is now hoping the long gap to the next round at Taupo, New Zealand will give the team the chance to step back and take stock of their disappointing start to the season.

Indeed, Gallagher uses New Zealand as a prime example in what they are looking to achieve over the remainder of the season, claiming they have come from nowhere to now be front runners.

"Richard made the most of the changing conditions and made good progress, but once again we emerge empty handed from a race weekend. There is a long gap now before the next round in New Zealand, and our re-evaluation of the team's lack of performance will continue. This time last year Team New Zealand was struggling, today they won both races. That's the formula we have to discover."

 

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