A1 Team Germany has produced its own 'Shanghai surprise' by naming Sebastian Stahl as its driver for the final round of the inaugural A1 Grand Prix season in China this weekend.

Stahl, known as 'Schuey 3' owing to his family relationship to Formula One brothers Michael and Ralf Schumacher, replaces Timo Scheider at the wheel of the German car, owing to Scheider's DTM commitments. However, even though occasional stand-in Adrian Sutil is also unavailable owing to his Japanese F3 campaign and F1 duties with Midland, Stahl was not the name being bandied about by motorsport insiders, with F3 pilots Sebastien Vettel and Maximilian Gotz more heavily favoured.

"I have no problem with my name,?EUR? he insisted, "However, during the races, it's of little use to me whatsoever. At the end of the day, I'm the one who has to prove myself."

The 27-year old has managed to get himself into a number of unexpected seats owing to his family connections, but will find the A1 Grand Prix car a sharp step up from anything he has tried previously, including a GT-spec Saleen S7R.

"I'm just as familiar with formula cars as I am with powerful V8 normally aspirated engines, but the combination of two such elements in an A1 Grand Prix racer are new to me," he admitted, having revealed a background spent largely in one-make saloons and junior single-seaters in his homeland.

He will also start the A1GP weekend with no prior knowledge of the Shanghai circuit, rated as one of the best on the F1 trail.

"Obviously, I watched the F1 race held there on television and have already driven a few laps of the circuit on the Playstation, but, otherwise, it's all new for me ?EUR" the series, the team, the car and the circuit," he confessed, "There are a great deal of high-calibre names in the A1 Grand Prix series, including drivers with F1 experience, but I want to reach the finish of both races ?EUR" and as close to the front as possible..."

Stahl received his nickname when his mother became partner to Rolf Schumacher, and is well-known by the brothers' manager - or former manager in Ralf's case - Willi Weber, who runs the German team.

"We certainly don't expect Sebastian to go one better than the second place we scored in Laguna Seca, but we would like to make a respectable finish to our debut season in the A1 Grand Prix series," Weber commented, "I'm convinced that Sebastian will help us to achieve this."



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