A1GP - BRANDS HATCH, ENGLAND: QUALIFYING DAY 2
A1 Team China set the pace in this morning's third and final practice session at the Brands Hatch circuit near London, closely followed by GBR's Robbie Kerr in second ahead of qualifying for his home event, the A1GP Brands Hatch, Great Britain this afternoon.
China's Congfu Cheng shot to the top of the time sheets this morning in sunny but breezy conditions and spent the majority of the session trading places with home nation GBR's Robbie Kerr and India's Narain Karthikeyan.
The trio know the Brands Hatch circuit well and dominated the hour, Cheng finishing on top with a best lap of 1m14.916s, followed by Kerr and Karthikeyan in second and third, ahead of title rivals New Zealand's Jonny Reid and Switzerland's Neel Jani in fourth and fifth place.
Portugal's Filipe Albuquerque, who was second fastest around the undulating 4.22 km Grand Prix circuit on Friday, clocked the sixth quickest lap time ahead of Filipe Salaquarda in the Czech car. Eighth and ninth positions were taken by USA's Jonathan Summerton and Germany's Michael Ammermüller while France's Franck Montagny rounded out the top ten.
It was another incredibly close session, with under a second covering Portugal in sixth place to Australia in 19th, setting the scene for an exciting qualifying session this afternoon.
All 22 nations competing in the World Cup of Motorsport are now preparing their cars for Sprint and Feature race qualifying, which starts 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 TEAM TIME1 Congfu CHENG CHINA 01:14.9
2 Robbie KERR GREAT BRITAIN 01:15.1
3 Narain KARTHIKEYAN INDIA 01:15.4
4 Jonny REID NEW ZEALAND 01:15.5
5 Neel JANI SWITZERLAND 01:15.6
6 Filipe ALBUQUERQUE PORTUGAL 01:15.7
7 Filip SALAQUARDA CZECH REPUBLIC 01:15.8
8 Jonathan SUMMERTON USA 01:15.8
9 Michael AMMERMÜLLER GERMANY 01:15.8
10 Franck MONTAGNY FRANCE 01:15.8
11 Fairuz FAUZY MALAYSIA 01:15.8
12 Adam CARROLL IRELAND 01:15.9
13 Adrian ZAUGG SOUTH AFRICA 01:15.9
14 Jeroen BLEEKEMOLEN NETHERLANDS 01:15.9
15 James HINCHCLIFFE CANADA 01:16.0
16 Edoardo PISCOPO ITALY 01:16.0
17 Xandi NEGRAO BRAZIL 01:16.2
18 Adam KHAN PAKISTAN 01:16.2
19 John MARTIN AUSTRALIA 01:16.3
20 Satrio HERMANTO INDONESIA 01:17.3
21 David MARTINEZ MEXICO 01:17.4
22 Khalil BESCHIR LEBANON 01:17.8
Sprint Race qualifying.
GBR's Robbie Kerr put in a sensational performance to qualify in pole position for tomorrow morning's Sprint race at the A1GP Brands Hatch, Great Britain, much to the delight of his home fans. The British racer will also start the Feature race from the front row of the grid, lining up in second place alongside Narain Karthikeyan, who has secured India's first pole position.
Twenty-eight-year-old Robbie Kerr set the fastest lap in the closing moments of the second 15-minute qualifying segment to snatch pole position for tomorrow morning's Sprint race from Switzerland's Neel Jani, who set the fastest lap during Q1.
USA's Jonathan Summerton, who was third fastest on Friday but struggled a little bit this morning, put in a superb lap in Q2 to qualify second and demote current title leader Switzerland to third. Ireland's Adam Carroll will line up alongside Jani on the second row in fourth position while India's Narain Karthikeyan and Portugal's Filipe Albuquerque will start from fifth and sixth place respectively.
South Africa's Adrian Zaugg and France's Franck Montagny will line up behind them in seventh and eighth place, followed by Germany's Michael Ammermüller in ninth. Title contender New Zealand's Jonny Reid endured a difficult session, qualifying Black Beauty in 10th position on the fifth row.
Feature race qualifying.
Having secured the Sprint race pole, GBR's Robbie Kerr took provisional pole for the Feature race during Q3, only to be demoted to second when India's Narain Karthikeyan snatched the top spot in the closing moments of the final qualifying segment, taking his nation's first A1GP pole position.
Switzerland's Neel Jani, who only needs to finish seventh in one of the races tomorrow to win the championship, and Ireland's Adam Carroll will line up on row two in third and fourth position followed by Germany's Michael Ammermüller and France's Franck Montagny in fifth and sixth place respectively.
South Africa's Adrian Zaugg and China's Congfu Cheng qualified seventh and eighth while USA's Jonathan Summerton and the Netherlands' Jeroen Bleekemolen complete the top 10 grid positions.
New Zealand's Jonny Reid, who needs to win at least one race tomorrow to be in with a chance of overhauling Switzerland and taking the prestigious title honours, could only manage 17th on the grid.
GBR's Robbie Kerr, who won the Brands Hatch Sprint race last year and is aiming for a double victory tomorrow, said:
'We've been pushing really hard all weekend. We've got to be happy with the result but it's just a shame we're not one place higher on the Feature race grid. We got a bit caught out by waiting right till the last moment before we went out. We wait so late purely so that other cars have driven round the circuit before us - they clean it up and put some rubber down which gives us the opportunity to get that extra bit of grip and a faster lap time. Everyone does the same though so it's a hard call to get it right every time and unfortunately we didn't get it quite right for the Feature race grid. We're happy with our performance so far this weekend and we've just got to carry it on till tomorrow.'
Narain Karthikeyan, who will start the Feature race from pole in the Indian car for the first time, put his top grid position down to good team work and his previous experience at the challenging Kent circuit: 'I've always done well here at Brands Hatch and it's one of my favourite circuits. The car has been up there all weekend. We put the lap together and the team has done a great job and the set up is not too far off. I think there will be a lot of Indian fans here tomorrow so we'll see what we can do.'
Tomorrow's A1GP season finale Sprint race at Brands Hatch will start at 11.00 local time and the 70-minute Feature race will start at 14.30.
Sprint race qualifying results - A1GP Brands Hatch, Great Britain.
POS A1 TEAM DRIVER TIME1 GREAT BRITAIN Robbie KERR 01:14.424
2 USA Jonathan SUMMERTON 01:14.426
3 SWITZERLAND Neel JANI 01:14.772
4 IRELAND Adam CARROLL 01:14.935
5 INDIA Narain KARTHIKEYAN 01:15.040
6 PORTUGAL Filipe ALBUQUERQUE 01:15.077
7 SOUTH AFRICA Adrian ZAUGG 01:15.142
8 FRANCE Franck MONTAGNY 01:15.216
9 GERMANY Michael AMMERMÜLLER 01:15.306
10 NEW ZEALAND Jonny REID 01:15.312
11 NETHERLANDS Jeroen BLEEKEMOLEN 01:15.338
12 AUSTRALIA John MARTIN 01:15.344
13 CZECH REPUBLIC Filip SALAQUARDA 01:15.357
14 MALAYSIA Fairuz FAUZY 01:15.439
15 CANADA James HINCHCLIFFE 01:15.470
16 CHINA Congfu CHENG 01:15.954
17 ITALY Edoardo PISCOPO 01:16.049
18 PAKISTAN Adam KHAN 01:16.086
19 BRAZIL Xandi NEGRAO 01:16.117
20 LEBANON Khalil BESCHIR 01:17.394
21 MEXICO David MARTINEZ 01:17.403
22 INDONESIA Satrio HERMANTO 01:17.553
Feature race qualifying results - A1GP Brands Hatch, Great Britain
POS A1 TEAM DRIVER TIME1 INDIA Narain KARTHIKEYAN 01:14.682
2 GREAT BRITAIN Robbie KERR 01:14.909
3 SWITZERLAND Neel JANI 01:14.957
4 IRELAND Adam CARROLL 01:15.020
5 GERMANY Michael AMMERMÜLLER 01:15.042
6 FRANCE Franck MONTAGNY 01:15.266
7 SOUTH AFRICA Adrian ZAUGG 01:15.284
8 CHINA Congfu CHENG 01:15.313
9 USA Jonathan SUMMERTON 01:15.398
10 NETHERLANDS Jeroen BLEEKEMOLEN 01:15.620
11 PORTUGAL Filipe ALBUQUERQUE 01:15.627
12 MALAYSIA Fairuz FAUZY 01:15.664
13 CANADA James HINCHCLIFFE 01:15.667
14 BRAZIL Xandi NEGRAO 01:15.671
15 CZECH REPUBLIC Filip SALAQUARDA 01:15.690
16 ITALY Edoardo PISCOPO 01:15.827
17 NEW ZEALAND Jonny REID 01:16.003
18 PAKISTAN Adam KHAN 01:16.063
19 AUSTRALIA John MARTIN 01:16.175
20 INDONESIA Satrio HERMANTO 01:16.876
21 LEBANON Khalil BESCHIR 01:16.942
22 MEXICO David MARTINEZ 01:17.062
Reporting by A1GP.com
All pictures A1GP.com.
Pole position for Robbie Kerr (Team Great Britain) in the Sprint Race...
...and Narain Karthikeyan (Team India) in the Feature Race.
Third for Neel Jani (Team Switzerland) in both races.
Adam Carroll was fourth for Team Ireland in both races.
Jonathan Summerton (Team USA) was second fastest in the Sprint Race qualifying
Michael Ammermüller (Team Germany) was lower on the grid than normally expected.
Two top ten results for Team France and Franck Montagny...
...and Adrian Zaugg (Team South Africa).
Filipe Albuquerque relaxes in the Team Portugal garage.
Eighth for Congfu Cheng (Team China) in the Feature Race qualifying.
Jonny Reid (Team New Zealand) struggled in both sessions.
Mid grid starts for Jeroen Bleekemolen (Team Netherlands)...
...and James Hinchcliffe (Team Canada).
...and James Hinchcliffe (Team Canada).
Edoardo Piscopo (Team Italy).
Adam Khan (Team Pakistan).
John Martin (Team Australia) starts twelfth in the Sprint Race.
Emerson Fittipaldi talks to Xandi Negrao in the Team Brazil garage.
Fairuz Fauzy will race for Team Malaysia this weekend.