A1 Team Great showed it was still on form following its Mexico Feature race win by topping the timing sheets in today’s practice session for the A1GP Shanghai, China this weekend. With regular driver, Robbie Kerr back behind the wheel, A1 Team Great Britain clocked a time of 1.35.573, just three hundredths of a second faster than second placed New Zealand. On only his second A1GP race weekend, France’s Jean Karl Vernay set the third fastest time completing the circuit in 1.35.680.

Commenting on his performance, Robbie Kerr said: ‘Things look good. Oliver (Turvey) did an excellent job in the car and came back with some really useful data and some knowledge of the circuit for me so I could I could learn from that and go out there and perform well. When we first went out, the car was immediately competitive and we were second quickest straight away but we just needed to make a few more improvements throughout the session and change a couple of things and ended up at the end of the day going quickest.’

Talking about the new chicane that joins turns four and eight on the shortened circuit, Kerr continued: ‘The kerbs do seem to be quite low but they bounce the car around a lot and you need to keep it stable through there to enable you to get on the power. It’s definitely a challenging part of the circuit to optimise the attack but obviously you’ve got to be in control at the same time and keep it really well balanced.’

A1 Team Germany who could potentially win the championship this weekend finished the second practice session in sixth place however rookie driver, Christian Vietoris, who raced for the team last time out in Mexico, topped the table in this morning’s session for rookie drivers and developing nations. Vietoris said: ‘The car was really good as we started the session and we were able to improve it through the session. It was good to finish on P1 and now I want to drive the race. The first two laps there was a lot of oversteer and understeer and the track was very nice. I learnt it a little bit on the PlayStation so I knew the track and was able to push.’

Bia Figueiredo became the third female to drive an A1GP car when she completed this morning’s first official practice session for A1 Team Brazil. The 22 year-old Brazilian who follows former outings by Katherine Legge and Jenifer Murray for A1 Teams Great Britain and South Africa respectively said:
‘It was fantastic and the speed was very impressive. It was a big difference from the car I’m used to in South American Formula Three. I was very confident and towards the end of the session my speed was ok. It was about getting confidence and the next opportunity I get I’ll know the car and will be able to push more. I’d love to do more A1GP. It would be great. I would be available for Brands Hatch if they asked me, but lets see.’

There is still work to be done by home team China who clocked the seventeenth and fifteenth times over the two sessions. Commenting on the day, driver Congfu Cheng said: ‘At the beginning of the day in the rookie session we had a problem with one of our tyres and we didn’t have a back up tyre which is why the results were not very satisfying. We changed the tyre and when you do that you have to adjust to the new tyre, but things will get more and more improved. I hope we will do better tomorrow. Today hasn’t been ideal for us but we achieved a stable performance in the last ten minutes, so hopefully we can do a lot better tomorrow. We can do better tomorrow so we aim high for at least a top six position.’

Official Practice Session 1 – Rookie drivers and developing nations only (11.15 – 11.45)

  A1 Team Driver Time No. Laps
1 Germany Christian Vietoris 1.36.236 19
2 France Jean Karl Vernay 1.36.695 18
3 Great Britain Oliver Turvey 1.37.102 20
4 India Narain Karthikeyan 1.37.263 21
5 Netherlands Renger van der Zande 1.37.436 20
6 USA Jonathan Summerton 1.37.537 16
7 Switzerland Marcel Fassler 1.37.581 22
8 South Africa Alan van der Merwe 1.37.776 8
9 Canada Kevin Lacroix 1.37.976 20
10 Australia Ian Dyk 1.38.189 21
11 Malaysia Aaron Lim 1.38.236 16
12 Italy Michele Rugolo 1.38.308 17
13 Portugal Joao Urbano 1.38.512 21
14 Lebanon Allam Khodair 1.38.550 15
15 Indonesia Moreno Soeprapto 1.38.666 19
16 New Zealand Daniel Gaunt 1.38.691 21
17 China Congfu Cheng 1.39.472 15
18 Ireland John O’Hara 1.39.489 15
19 Czech Republic Filip Salaquarda 1.39.554 18
20 Brazil Bia Figueiredo 1.39.985 12
21 Mexico Sergio Perez 1.40.126 5
22 Pakistan Nur Ali 1.40.791 16
Official Practice session 2 (14.00 – 15.00)

  A1 Team Driver Time No. Laps
1 Great Britain Robbie Kerr 1.35.573 17
2 New Zealand Jonny Reid 1.35.603 17
3 France Jean Karl Vernay 1.35.680 4
4 India Narain Karthikeyan 1.35.931 19
5 USA Jonathan Summerton 1.35.976 14
6 Germany Nico Hülkenberg 1.36.001 13
7 Switzerland Sebastien Buemi 1.36.110 25
8 Netherlands Renger van der Zande 1.36.232 3
9 Malaysia Alex Yoong 1.36.339 21
10 Portugal Joao Urbano 1.36.522 26
11 South Africa Alan van der Merwe 1.36.537 12
12 Indonesia Ananda Mikola 1.36.631 20
13 Italy Enrico Toccacelo 1.36.657 24
14 Canada Sean McIntosh 1.36.675 24
15 China Congfu Cheng 1.36.834 17
16 Czech Republic Filip Salaquadra 1.37.275 19
17 Mexico Sergio Perez 1.37.279 12
18 Ireland Richard Lyons 1.37.370 24
19 Brazil Vitor Meira 1.37.378 8
20 Australia Ian Dyk 1.38.079 10
21 Pakistan Nur Ali 1.39.926 17
22 Lebanon Allam Khodair - -

Reporting by A1GP.com
Robbie Kerr was immediately on the pace on his return to the Team Great Britain car.
(Picture A1GP.com)
To nobody's great surprise Jonny Reid at Team New Zealand were back at the front of the field.
(Picture A1GP.com)
Team France's recent return to form continued when Jean Karl Vernay took third fastest.
(Picture A1GP.com)
Narain Karthikeyan (Team India) was an excellent fourth fastest.
(Picture A1GP.com)
Jonathan Summerton was fifth fastest for Team USA.
(Picture A1GP.com)
Nico Hülkenberg and Team Germany were unusually far down in sixth.
(Picture A1GP.com)
A new face, Joao Urbano in the Team Portugal car.
(Picture A1GP.com)
Alan van der Merwe will race the Team South Africa car this weekend.
(Picture A1GP.com)
Sergio Perez (Team Mexico) was handicapped by a smoking engine.
(Picture A1GP.com)
Bia Figueiredo (Team Brazil) became the third woman to drive an A1GP car.
(Picture A1GP.com)
Congfu Cheng will be hoping to give the Chinese fans something to cheer.
(Picture A1GP.com)