The inaugural A1 Grand Prix season has been characterised by France and Switzerland going head-to-head for the title, at least until the last round at Laguna Seca, and both teams will now hope to sign off the year by rejoining battle in China this weekend.

Team France heads to the final round of the series in Shanghai aiming to cap its winning season with another victory. The team clinched the inaugural A1GP crown in America, having taken 13 wins from 20 races, with Alex Premat and Nicolas Lapierre taking seven and six wins respectively. Unusually, with the title secured, both drivers will have a chance to add to their tallies this weekend, with Lapierre driving in Friday practice and Premat taking over on Saturday. Premat will then drive in the sprint race, while Lapierre returns for the feature.

Neither man has raced in China previously, and both are looking forward to being able to tackle the new challenge unencumbered by championship pressure.

"Shanghai is another new track for me, although I have some idea of what it looks like, with a good mixture of challenging corner and long straights," Premat commented, "It's quite twisty in some areas, but the back straight leads into a corner where you can overtake under the right circumstances. I'm really looking forward to this, the last race of the year, and, hopefully, we can close the season with another good result."

Lapierre has added incentive to do well, having invited one of his sponsors, Regis Dumange, to share the experience, having helped the GP2 regular a lot since 2002.

Having been forced to concede the title after a disappointing performance at Laguna Seca with new driver Giorgio Mondini, Team Switzerland heads to the final round looking to consolidate its second place and determined to finish on a high.

Mondini will be back behind the wheel of the silver Lola having taken over from F1-bound Neel Jani, and comes to the event with recent F1 experience of his own, having completed his first race weekend duties with the Midland team at Sepang in Malaysia.

Again, there is little pressure on the team in terms of needing points to secure its overall position as, with one win - in Dubai - five second places, four thirds and 16 points-scoring finishes in the year's 20 races to date, runners-up spot is already sewn up, allowing Mondini to go about practice and racing with a clear mind.

"The Shanghai circuit is probably the best in the world," the former Renault V6 champion claimed, "Everyone I've met has been overwhelmed by the facilities and I'm really
looking forward to the season finale. Of course, I aim to finish it on a high for the team, and I'm feeling confident for this weekend - and happy that the weather can't possibly be any worse than in Laguna Seca!"



Loading Comments...