Home team Great Britain dominated the first day of practice for the RAB Capital
A1GP Brands Hatch, Great Britain today, increasing the odds of it taking the
series’ first-ever home win at the 2006/07 season finale on Sunday.
GBR rookie and Mexico Feature race winner Oliver Jarvis, recorded the fastest lap of the day with a time of 1.15.043 in this morning’s practice session for rookies and developing nations, beating the current track record of 1.16.547. Jarvis commented: ‘This morning we started on old tyres. Once I had done my duties the tyres were probably 25 laps old, so the time we did was very reasonable and very competitive. I think if we had done a bit more running in the second session we probably could have improved on that. Unfortunately I had to do another set of pads and also the red flags ended the session early.’
The two sessions were interrupted several times by a series of red flags, limiting the track time for all teams. Talking about the disruptions, Jarvis commented: ‘Brands is very much like a street circuit in the sense that out the back if you make a mistake it is going to cost you – you are in the wall in the gravel – so it is very difficult to find that limit and it is all about improving a little bit every lap and eventually the time will come.’
Main driver, Robbie Kerr, who took his first win for the team in the Shanghai Sprint two weeks ago, went on to top the afternoon session with a fastest lap time more than half a second quicker than second placed India. Unfortunately the session ended badly for the British team as Kerr took a trip into the gravel trap bringing out the red flag that finally suspended the session.
Commenting on the incident, Kerr said: ‘We changed the car a little bit and we went back out there to try to see if it had improved it. Unfortunately it went the other way and it just could not ride the bumps as well and sent the back round as simple as that.
‘It was quite good fun until we were in the gravel. It was a good session the whole way through and we had a good car from this morning. We tried a couple of things, some worked and some didn’t and so we have just got to look at tomorrow, look at what is working, try to improve both driver and car. We will do that and then we will go quicker tomorrow.’
However, Narain Karthikyan is determined to close that gap to GBR on a circuit he knows well. “I did a lot of Formula 3 races here and I like the circuit. We still have to fine tune the car a bit. In the second session we missed about sixty per cent of the session because we had a puncture. Anyway GBR is very, very quick and I need to close the gap and if we can do that we will be quick. The idea is to keep improving the car and I think we will be okay.”
Team owner, Tony Clements, was clearly pleased with the day’s performance and looked forward to the rest of the weekend: ‘We can’t go into this session with a better record than we have over the last three meetings. We had a second, a second, a first, a first and a second, and I think both the boys have demonstrated already that the car’s set up well for Brands Hatch and they both know the track. Unless we have the sort of mishap we had at the inaugural race here, we are going to be up there and very competitive, and I think Robbie has demonstrated he is going to be knocking on the door. Whether we are going to be able to secure sufficient points to close that gap with New Zealand is obviously not just up to how Robbie does, but that is going to depend upon New Zealand as well.’
For A1 Team New Zealand the day did not go as smoothly. The team missed the morning, session as neither Reid nor Halliday qualify as rookies, and its afternoon session was cut short after Reid hit the wall after coming off the track at Westfield. This could not have come at a worst time as the team is defending its second place in the championship standings from Great Britain, the only team that can displace it from the position it has held for most of the season.
Pos Driver Team Time Laps
1. Robbie Kerr Great Britain 1:15.086 24
2. N. Karthikeyan India 1:15.661 + 0.575 23
3. Loic Duval France 1:15.813 + 0.727 21
4. J. Summerton USA 1:15.815 + 0.729 15
5. N. Hulkenberg Germany 1:15.943 + 0.857 30
6. Cheng Cong Fu China 1:16.169 + 1.083 17
7. Alex Yoong Malaysia 1:16.229 + 1.143 27
8. Sebastien Buemi Switzerland 1:16.381 + 1.295 28
9. Adrian Zaugg South Africa 1:16.410 + 1.324 21
10. Sean McIntosh Canada 1:16.419 + 1.333 31
11. Alvaro Parente Portugal 1:16.423 + 1.337 28
12. J. Bleekemolen Netherlands 1:16.438 + 1.352 23
13. Enrico Toccacelo Italy 1:16.470 + 1.384 25
14. Ananda Mikola Indonesia 1:16.709 + 1.623 22
15. Allam Khodair Lebanon 1:16.769 + 1.683 11
16. Bruno Junqueira Brazil 1:17.117 + 2.031 27
17. Richard Lyons Ireland 1:17.497 + 2.411 24
18. Ian Dyk Australia 1:17.746 + 2.660 19
19. Jan Charouz Czech Republic 1:17.753 + 2.667 19
20. Jonny Reid New Zealand 1:19.341 + 4.255 2
21. Juan P.Garcia Mexico 1:19.405 + 4.319 29
22. Nur Ali Pakistan 1:19.568 + 4.482 25
The following drivers have signed-on to compete in the RAB Capital A1GP Brands Hatch, Great Britain.
|Jean Karl Vernay*
|Juan Pablo Garcia*
|Renger van der Zande*
|Matt Halliday a
|Joao Urbano* a
|Gavin Cronje* a
|Marcel Fassler* a
Drivers marked with a star are eligible to participate in the first official practice session on Friday 27 April 2007, reserved for rookie drivers and developing nations only.
A1 Team Singapore will miss the final round of the series at Brands Hatch this weekend, as diver Christian Murchison has injured his shoulder while weight training in preparation for the race.