A1GP - BRANDS HATCH, ENGLAND: QUALIFYING DAY 1
Home nation A1 Team Great Britain topped the time sheets in the second of today's two free practice sessions at Brands Hatch, as the final round of the 2007/08 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport got underway at the legendary Kent circuit in Great Britain in changeable weather conditions. Despite spending some of the hour long session confined to the garage while the team worked on the car, GBR's Robbie Kerr stamped his authority on the first day of A1GP track action on home soil, setting a fastest lap of 1m14.891s around the challenging 4.22 km / 2.62 miles Grand Prix circuit.
China's Congfu Cheng, who knows the Brands Hatch circuit well, set the second fastest time of the day while Jonathan Summerton, who scored USA's maiden A1GP race win last time out in Shanghai, set the third fastest lap time.
Current title leader Switzerland's Neel Jani enjoyed a trouble-free session, finishing the afternoon in a comfortable fourth position, followed by Ireland's Adam Carroll and India's Narain Karthikeyan in fifth and sixth place respectively.
Championship rival A1 Team New Zealand got the weekend off to a strong start this morning, with new boy Chris van der Drift - who has only taken part in one rookie session prior to this weekend - topping the time sheets. Lead driver Jonny Reid took over this afternoon and set the eighth fastest time overall behind the Netherlands' Jeroen Bleekemolen in seventh.
Portugal's Filipe Albuquerque, who clocked the second fastest time this morning, finished the day ninth overall, closely followed by France's Franck Montagny, who has never driven the Brands Hatch circuit before, in 10th.
Great Britain's Robbie Kerr reflected on the first day of action on home soil and looked ahead to qualifying tomorrow:
'We went out early on this afternoon and the car was reasonable but we had a couple of little issues and rather than waste time and laps trying to solve it gradually we decided to take the tyres off and go through everything properly. We took our time and made a few changes then we got the car back together and went out at the end of the session and went quicker. The car has definitely got a good balance but there are still things we can improve on. We're fairly confident but we're not going to predict anything. We've just got to go out there and keep working at it. Qualifying is key in A1GP - if you're not there at the top on that first flying lap, you're not going to be there at the end.'
Official Practice Session 1 - Rookie drivers and developing nations only.
POS A1 TEAM DRIVER TIME1 NEW ZEALAND Chris VAN DER DRIFT 01:16.1
2 PORTUGAL Filipe ALBUQUERQUE 01:16.1
3 CZECH REPUBLIC Filip SALAQUARDA 01:16.2
4 SWITZERLAND Alexandre IMPERATORI 01:16.4
5 SOUTH AFRICA Wesleigh ORR 01:16.4
6 IRELAND Niall QUINN 01:16.5
7 BRAZIL Xandi NEGRAO 01:16.6
8 AUSTRALIA Nathan ANTUNES 01:16.8
9 CANADA Daniel MORAD 01:16.8
10 GREAT BRITAIN James WINSLOW 01:16.9
11 FRANCE Nicolas PROST 01:17.1
12 NETHERLANDS Arie LUYENDYK 01:17.5
13 ITALY Francesco PROVENZANO 01:17.6
14 MEXICO David MARTINEZ 01:18.0
15 LEBANON Khalil BESCHIR 01:18.4
16 INDONESIA Satrio HERMANTO 01:18.4
17 MALAYSIA Aaron LIM 01:18.8
18 INDIA Parthiva SURESHWAREN 01:18.9
Official Practice session 2.
POS DRIVER A1 TEAM TIME1 Robbie KERR GREAT BRITAIN 01:14.891
2 Congfu CHENG CHINA 01:15.130
3 Jonathan SUMMERTON USA 01:15.243
4 Neel JANI SWITZERLAND 01:15.302
5 Adam CARROLL IRELAND 01:15.308
6 Narain KARTHIKEYAN INDIA 01:15.339
7 Jeroen BLEEKEMOLEN NETHERLANDS 01:15.340
8 Jonny REID NEW ZEALAND 01:15.356
9 Filipe ALBUQUERQUE PORTUGAL 01:15.359
10 Franck MONTAGNY FRANCE 01:15.459
11 Filip SALAQUARDA CZECH REPUBLIC 01:15.477
12 Adrian ZAUGG SOUTH AFRICA 01:15.655
13 Fairuz FAUZY MALAYSIA 01:15.732
14 Edoardo PISCOPO ITALY 01:15.799
15 Xandi NEGRAO BRAZIL 01:15.917
16 Michael AMMERMÜLLER GERMANY 01:16.040
17 James HINCHCLIFFE CANADA 01:16.257
18 John MARTIN AUSTRALIA 01:16.552
19 Adam KHAN PAKISTAN 01:16.862
20 Satrio HERMANTO INDONESIA 01:17.090
21 David MARTINEZ MEXICO 01:17.601
22 Khalil BESCHIR LEBANON 01:17.949
Reporting by A1GP.com
All pictures Lola Heritage.
Robbie Kerr set the pace today for Team Great Britain.
Congfu Cheng was second fastest for Team China.
Jonathan Summerton continued to impress for Team USA.
Fourth for Neel Jani and Team Switzerland.
Adam Carroll (Team Ireland) set the fifth fastest time.
Narain Karthekeyan rounded out the top six for Team India.
Chris van der Drift drove the Team New Zealand car in the Rookie session.
Francesco Provenzano (Team Italy) in the Rookie session.
Filipe Albuquerque (Team Portugal) in the spring sunshine.
Michael Ammermüller (Team Germany) will not be happy with his pace...
...nor will James Hinchcliffe for Team Canada.