Team Ireland took the positives away from a troubled opening weekend in A1GP at Zandvoort, during which the squad was held back by both mechanical and driver error.

Michael Devaney, who starred for Team Ireland on occasional appearances last year, began the new campaign with high hopes, only to see them dashed in Holland. Following a lowly 15th-placed finish in the sprint race, a lengthy pit-stop necessitated by a sheared axle mechanism followed by a spin contributed to a barely more palatable 14th in the feature, despite the former German Formula 3 Championship runner-up setting some quick lap times in both the wet and dry.

"This was a disappointing end to a frustrating weekend for me and the whole team," said the Rathfarnham ace afterwards. "Nothing seemed to go right for us and the races were difficult after qualifying so far down the order.

"The feature race was a bit of a lottery, the pit-stop took ages because of the axle problem and I also made a mistake later on which cost us a lot of time. We shouldn't have been starting 15th on the grid in the first place. At least we know where we are with the car which means we'll be in better shape for the race next weekend."

Team principal Mark Gallagher was equally phlegmatic, drawing encouragement from the flashes of pace shown in-between the difficulties.

"We knew this weekend would be tough," he admitted, "but from the moment we encountered the fuel pressure problems which robbed us of final practice, it was an uphill battle.

"The feature race was marred by the pit-stop caused by a component failure which we will have to discuss with our colleagues in A1GP. Michael drove hard and set good times which give us reason to believe that without the problems we'd have been at the sharp end.

"It was fantastic to see a capacity crowd here in Zandvoort and to see A1GP get off to an amazing start for year two. The support we have had from Irish fans here has been terrific."

"The result is no where near a reflection of the pace we have got," concurred Team Ireland technical director Andy Miller. "It is vital to qualify at the front and stay with the quick runners rather than get held up. The strategy we ran was correct but equipment failure meant we did not reap the benefits. Michael was very quick in the wet and in the dry latter part of the feature race, so we just have to make sure we make things count next weekend in the Czech Republic."



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