A1GP: Safety fears force Khan out of season opener

By Andy Darley

CalendarSaturday, October 4th, 2008

 
 

The faltering A1GP series has lost another car from its delayed season opener with Team Pakistan’s Yorkshire-born driver Adam Khan’s decision to pull out on safety grounds.

Adam Khan, A1 Team Pakistan driver, and his coach for part of the 2007-08 season Danny Watts

Adam Khan, A1 Team Pakistan driver, and his coach for part of the 2007-08 season Danny Watts

Khan, who takes over as seat holder for the Pakistani entry from this season, raised concerns about the new centrally-built A1GP car after his shakedown test at Snetterton on Thursday.

Without specifying the exact nature of the problem, the team said technical issues with the chassis had put Khan at risk.

In a statement, they said: “During this initial test session the Pakistan crew found that the constraints of the chassis from a technical perspective compromised Khan’s safety in the car and the team reluctantly made the decision to delay their return to the track.”

They have chosen to join teams such as Great Britain, one of several unable to set up their delayed cars in time for this weekend’s races in Zandvoort, in beginning their season at the second A1GP race weekend in Chengdu, China.

Khan said: “I’m very disappointed not to be in the car, I was very determined to work round the technical problems so that I could drive, but it just wasn’t possible. We’re extremely sorry that we will not be racing in Zandvoort this weekend, but as I’m sure our fans will appreciate, safety is a priority in motor racing and in difficult circumstances we had no alternative but to delay the start of our season.

“I know that A1GP will work to rectify this situation and ensure that we’ll be able to join for the second round. Fortunately there has been a recent rule change which allows a team to drop the scores from one event, so our overall World Cup of Motorsport campaign will not be compromised.”

Last year Pakistan scored a single point in the championship, with Khan often running among the backmarkers. However, a period under the coaching of Danny Watts saw him perform competitively, and in the build-up to this season he has achieved considerable success in Euro Formula 3000 in Italy.

* Whatever the technical issues surrounding Pakistan’s chassis may might, the problem seems only to come into play when Khan is driving. The team loaned it to Switzerland to use at Zandvoort, ensuring that the reigning champions could take part in the event. Swiss seat holder Max Welti said: “I am grateful to our friends from Asia. At the track we are opponents, but when it is about helping one another, neither different nationalities nor religions are playing a role.”

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