Adam Carroll has got his sights set on a podium finish when Team Ireland travels to New Zealand for round five of the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport.
The GP2 racer scored fourth place in the sprint race during the last stage, held at China’s Zhuhai circuit – and is looking to go at least one better this time around.
Thanks to his efforts the Irish team now sits seventh in the championship, only nine points off Team GBR in fourth place.
The series made its debut on the 3.5km Taupo circuit last season and Ireland got rapidly on the pace – until draftshaft and rear suspension failures ended their sprint and feature races respectively.
But the team says that the round marked a huge leap in performance last year – and they will be looking to convert that speed into results this time around.
Carroll said: “We’ve had a bit of a break over Christmas so I’m really looking forward to getting back away to the race track. I’m looking forward to visiting both New Zealand and Australia over the coming weeks as I’ve never been over to that part of the world before.
“Hopefully we can do a good really job out there and improve from now on to the end of the season, getting some more podiums and scoring a lot more points. We’re taking things step at a time but we’re always moving forward and I’m feeling really positive about everything.
“Hopefully we’ll start getting the results now to show it. We’re going to go and give it everything next weekend and aim to be back on the podium.”
Race engineer Dan Walmsley added: “We’ve had quite a lot of time since the last race to assess where we are with the car and look to move things forward for the next race.
“Taupo is quite a short circuit with mainly second and third gear corners and has lots of camber change on the circuit. It’s really important to get a good set-up and I think we can get a solid result this weekend.
“Biofuel is coming in for the next race which will affect engine performance but it will be the same for everyone, so we’ve just got to go out there and see what the difference actually is.”
He said that the team had sufficient pace at Zhuhai but failed to turn it into results.
“So in New Zealand we’re looking to get a strong podium finish in both races.”
Mark Gallagher, team principal said it was crucial for the squad to keep its scoring momentum going through round five of the championship.
“Zhuhai showed that we are knocking on the door of that breakthrough and, with Adam having had three weekend’s experience with the team, I feel we are building some momentum.
“New Zealand has really embraced A1GP thanks to the enthusiasm of the A1 Team New Zealand management, the support they have received at home and in Taupo itself.
“I hope Ireland can contribute to making this an exciting weekend – we like taking on the Kiwis in rugby, where they sometimes have been known to do OK; it’ll be nice if the Celtic Tiger can show Black Beauty a clean pair of heels on their home turf.”