Great Britain and Robbie Kerr suffered a double disappointment in the latest round of the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport in Taupo, the squad leaving New Zealand empty-handed for the second year in succession.

After a below-par qualifying session that had seen Kerr line up 13th for the sprint event and ninth for the longer feature outing, there was to be even greater heartbreak come race day as the 28-year-old twice found himself forced into taking an early bath, and the team slipped down four positions in the nations' standings to eighth place.

Following a strong getaway, a collision with the USA's Jonathan Summerton as the pair battled over seventh spot left Kerr with a stalled engine and damaged suspension in the sprint, after the former's front left wheel made contact with the latter's rear right. The High Wycombe ace managed to nurse his car back to the pits and run some laps towards the end of the race, but any hope of points had long since disappeared.

The team was hoping for better fortunes in the afternoon's feature race, but prior to the start there was some concern over an apparent technical problem which could not be diagnosed in the limited time available. Again fighting over seventh place, on lap five those problems once more reared their head and proved terminal as the oil temperature increased, causing a loss of power to the car.

"We made a good, sensible start," Kerr reflected on the sprint race. "I went alongside Switzerland initially, but backed down when I saw a couple of cars in front taking a little bit too much speed into the first corner. I pulled the car tight and managed to avoid the carnage in front, and it was obviously great to get up to eighth, as I knew we could move forwards from there and score good points.

"It took a few laps to get everything warm, and we were then quick again and caught USA. I got the car alongside, the acceleration was good and I managed to pass USA, but then I got hit from behind and the next thing I knew I was in the air. The car wouldn't re-start, but we got it back to the pits, checked it was safe to go back out again then put in some competitive laps which showed we would have had the pace, so it's a great shame that it ended the way it did.

"We got a pretty good start [in the feature race], though didn't capitalise on it completely as the first corner was so tight. I managed to get past Robbie Wickens (Canada), though the car was sliding around a lot at the back which allowed Canada to re-pass me, and from that point on we struggled. Something was wrong with the engine and we had to come into the pits and retire."

With the British entry now lying one point adrift of seventh-placed Team Netherlands and two points behind Team Ireland, hopes are high a fight back will be on the cards next time out at Eastern Creek, a circuit where two years ago Kerr finished as runner-up in the feature outing.

"It's been an extremely disappointing day," admitted team principal Katie Clements. "Robbie did well to avoid the collision at the start of the sprint race, gained five places and from then on he was determined to move forward, but unfortunately USA shunted us, putting us out of contention.

"We're still looking into the engine problems that caused us to pull out of the feature race, but hopefully everything will be resolved and GBR will be back racing at the front of the pack in Australia where we belong."

 

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