MEXICO CITY, MEXICO: QUALIFYING DAY 2
A1 Team Italy set the pace in this morning's third and final official practice session, which was strewn with red flag incidents, at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in the heart of Mexico City, setting the scene for an incredibly close qualifying session this afternoon.
Italy's Edoardo Piscopo, who had the benefit of new tyres, shot to the top of the time sheets in the closing minutes of the incident-packed final practice this morning, demoting France's Jonathan Cochet to second. 31-year-old Cochet had held the top spot for much of the session, which overran by 40 minutes due to four red-flag periods involving Lebanon, Portugal and Mexico, plus debris on the track.
Second-placed France was closely followed by current title leader Switzerland's Neel Jani in third while Ireland's Adam Carroll continued his strong form by setting the fourth fastest time overall.
China's Congfu Cheng ended the session in an impressive fifth position, followed by New Zealand's Jonny Reid and USA's Jonathan Summerton in sixth and seventh places respectively. Great Britain's Oliver Jarvis, who was the man to beat around the 4.08km circuit on Friday, finished the session eighth. South Africa's Adrian Zaugg and India's Narain Karthikeyan rounded out the top ten.
It was another incredibly close session at the challenging Mexican circuit, with just over a second covering the top 18 teams. Seven teams had their lap times deleted for cutting the chicane leading into the final Peraltada corner.
All 22 nations competing in the World Cup of Motorsport are now preparing their cars for Sprint and Feature race qualifying, which begins at 14.15 this afternoon. Qualifying consists of four 15-minute sessions with a five-minute break between each one. The fastest lap time set by each team's nominated driver in the first two qualifying segments will determine the grid for the rolling start Sprint race, while the fastest times set in the final two segments will determine how the 22 cars will line up on the grid for the standing start Feature race. Each driver is limited to one 'flying lap' per 15-minute session.
Official Practice Session 3
POS DRIVER A1 TEAM TIME1 Edoardo PISCOPO ITALY 01:21.685
2 Jonathan COCHET FRANCE 01:21.738
3 Neel JANI SWITZERLAND 01:21.758
4 Adam CARROLL IRELAND 01:21.841
5 Congfu CHENG CHINA 01:21.873
6 Jonny REID NEW ZEALAND 01:21.898
7 Jonathan SUMMERTON USA 01:21.906
8 Oliver JARVIS GREAT BRITAIN 01:21.930
9 Adrian ZAUGG SOUTH AFRICA 01:21.971
10 Narain KARTHIKEYAN INDIA 01:22.000
11 Robert WICKENS CANADA 01:22.094
12 Michael AMMERMÜLLER GERMANY 01:22.137
13 Bruno JUNQUEIRA BRAZIL 01:22.162
14 Adam KHAN PAKISTAN 01:22.195
15 Jeroen BLEEKEMOLEN NETHERLANDS 01:22.205
16 Filipe ALBUQUERQUE PORTUGAL 01:22.249
17 Alex YOONG MALAYSIA 01:22.442
18 Satrio HERMANTO INDONESIA 01:22.753
19 John MARTIN AUSTRALIA 01:23.292
20 Jimmy AUBY LEBANON 01:23.343
21 Filip SALAQUARDA CZECH REPUBLIC 01:23.611
22 David GARZA MEXICO 01:24.148
Sprint Race qualifying
Twenty-one-year-old Adrian Zaugg set the fastest lap on new tyres during the second 15-minute qualifying segment to take pole position for the South African team for tomorrow morning's Sprint race, claiming his fourth pole position of the season.
New Zealand's Jonny Reid, who topped the time sheets in Q1, will line up alongside South Africa on the front row in second position. USA's Jonathan Summerton was on fine form, leaping up the order in Q2 to qualify third. The 19-year-old American will be joined on the second row by current title leader Neel Jani, who qualified the Swiss car in fourth place.
GBR's Oliver Jarvis and Canada's Robert Wickens will start the Sprint race from fifth and sixth places, while Ireland's Adam Carroll and Brazil's Bruno Junqueira will line up behind them on the fourth row of the grid in seventh and eighth places respectively.
Mexico's David Garza will start the Sprint race from a disappointing 21st position after a frustrating qualifying session. France's Jonathan Cochet, currently lying second in the championship and in need of a decent points haul this weekend, will start the Sprint race from 16th.
Feature race qualifying
Canada's Robert Wickens waited for the closing minutes of the final qualifying segment to secure pole position for tomorrow's Feature race, just thousandths of a second ahead of Switzerland's Neel Jani, who will line up alongside the Canadian in second place on the front row.
Germany's Michael Ammermüller qualified in third position while Great Britain's Oliver Jarvis, who blitzed the Mexico Feature race last year to take GBR's first ever A1GP victory, will line up in fourth place on the second row. Ireland's Adam Carroll took the fifth spot ahead of New Zealand's Jonny Reid who will start the Feature race from sixth place.
USA's Jonathan Summerton, who finished second in the Mexico Feature race last year to secure the best ever result of his A1GP career, qualified seventh. He will be joined on the fourth row by Portugal's Filipe Albuquerque, who is enjoying a strong weekend in Mexico City, which is only his second A1GP event.
Home nation A1 Team Mexico's David Garza will start the Feature race from the back of the grid as he was not able to set a competitive lap time in Q4 due to spinning off and hitting the wall at the famous Peraltada corner.
France's Jonathan Cochet endured another difficult session and will start the Feature race from 14th alongside the Netherlands' Jeroen Bleekemolen.
South Africa's Adrian Zaugg, who will start the Sprint race from pole position and the Feature race from 10th, said:
'The new tyres actually make things a lot easier for you - the car is a lot more stable and a lot easier to drive over the bumps. It wasn't actually very difficult to get a good time. The times are very close so each and every little error will cost you a position. We tried to aim to go out late because usually the track is at its best at the end of the session.'
Canada's Robert Wickens was pleased with his first Feature race pole and praised the work of his team:
'Getting my first Feature pole is definitely a good accomplishment. Everyone always wants to win the Feature over the Sprint because in my opinion it's a better race - it's longer and there are pit stops and more variables. Canada did a great job and the car was phenomenal. We struggled a bit in practice but we were able to overcome our difficulties and it was a pretty solid qualifying effort.'
Mexico's David Garza endured a difficult qualifying session this afternoon and will start the Sprint race from 21st and the Feature race from 22nd:
'I had trouble with one of the front tyres and we were struggling to keep them in condition for the whole session. I tried to do a reasonable time in the last lap to try to improve my position but the car was just impossible so I lost it when I was braking for the chicane and that was it. There will probably be a lot of incidents in the races tomorrow with tyres and those who keep their tyres in better condition are going to have a good result, so I'm counting on that to improve my position.'
Tomorrow's Sprint race in Mexico City will start at 11.00 local time and the 70-minute Feature race will start at 15.00.
Sprint race qualifying results - A1GP Mexico City, Mexico (round 8 of 10).
POS A1 TEAM DRIVER BEST TIME1 SOUTH AFRICA Adrian ZAUGG 01:20.315
2 NEW ZEALAND Jonny REID 01:20.397
3 USA Jonathan SUMMERTON 01:20.426
4 SWITZERLAND Neel JANI 01:20.518
5 GREAT BRITAIN Oliver JARVIS 01:20.556
6 CANADA Robert WICKENS 01:20.621
7 IRELAND Adam CARROLL 01:20.769
8 BRAZIL Bruno JUNQUEIRA 01:20.842
9 PORTUGAL Filipe ALBUQUERQUE 01:20.940
10 ITALY Edoardo PISCOPO 01:20.961
11 NETHERLANDS Jeroen BLEEKEMOLEN 01:21.005
12 CHINA Congfu CHENG 01:21.028
13 GERMANY Michael AMMERMÜLLER 01:21.054
14 MALAYSIA Alex YOONG 01:21.099
15 PAKISTAN Adam KHAN 01:21.176
16 FRANCE Jonathan COCHET 01:21.417
17 AUSTRALIA John MARTIN 01:21.789
18 INDIA Narain KARTHIKEYAN 01:21.799
19 LEBANON Jimmy AUBY 01:22.012
20 INDONESIA Satrio HERMANTO 01:22.044
21 MEXICO David GARZA 01:22.370
22 CZECH REPUBLIC Filip SALAQUARDA 01:22.373
Feature race qualifying results - A1GP Mexico City, Mexico (round 8 of 10).
POS A1 TEAM DRIVER BEST TIME1 CANADA Robert WICKENS 01:20.278
2 SWITZERLAND Neel JANI 01:20.320
3 GERMANY Michael AMMERMÜLLER 01:20.646
4 GREAT BRITAIN Oliver JARVIS 01:20.705
5 IRELAND Adam CARROLL 01:20.708
6 NEW ZEALAND Jonny REID 01:20.743
7 USA Jonathan SUMMERTON 01:20.783
8 PORTUGAL Filipe ALBUQUERQUE 01:20.825
9 CHINA Congfu CHENG 01:20.859
10 SOUTH AFRICA Adrian ZAUGG 01:20.870
11 MALAYSIA Alex YOONG 01:20.939
12 ITALY Edoardo PISCOPO 01:20.953
13 NETHERLANDS Jeroen BLEEKEMOLEN 01:21.263
14 FRANCE Jonathan COCHET 01:21.310
15 AUSTRALIA John MARTIN 01:21.358
16 LEBANON Jimmy AUBY 01:21.441
17 PAKISTAN Adam KHAN 01:21.484
18 BRAZIL Bruno JUNQUEIRA 01:21.675
19 INDONESIA Satrio HERMANTO 01:21.788
20 INDIA Narain KARTHIKEYAN 01:21.909
21 CZECH REPUBLIC Filip SALAQUARDA 01:22.333
22 MEXICO David GARZA 01:22.371
Reporting by A1GP.com
All pictures A1GP.com.
Pole position for the Sprint Race goes to Adrian Zaugg (Team South Africa)...
...and to Rob Wickens (Team Canada) for the Feature Race.
Neel Jani (Team Switzerland) starts fourth and second respectively.
Jonny Reid (Team New Zealand) was well up in both sessions.
Jonathan Summerton (Team USA) was an excellent third in the Sprint Race qualifying.
Oliver Jarvis (Team Great Britain) qualified in the top five for both races.
Adam Carroll (Team Ireland) starts both races well up the grid...
...as does Filipe Albuquerque (Team Portugal).
Bruno Junqueira (Team Brazil) would have hoped to have been higher.
Congfu Cheng (Team China) starts both races in the middle of the grid.
Jeroen Bleekemolen (Team Netherlands) was strangely off the pace.
Michael Ammermüller (Team Germany) starts third in the Feature Race.
Alex Yoong (Team Malaysia) tries some off-road running.
Jonathan Cochet scratches his head at Team France's lack of pace.
Edoardo Piscopo (Team Italy).
Jimmy Auby (Team Lebanon) showed good speed in both qualifying sessions.
Adam Khan (Team Pakistan).
David Garza (Team Mexico) starts both races at the back of the grid...
...as does Team Czech Republic debutant Filip Salaquarda.
The cars line up in parc ferme.