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Liuzzi and Doornbos win poles at Algarve

Saturday, April 11, 2009


Tonio Liuzzi
Round Six of the 2008/09 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport continued this afternoon with Vitantonio Liuzzi claiming Italy’s first ever A1GP pole position for tomorrow’s Vodafone A1GP Algarve, Portugal Sprint race. Robert Doornbos took his first pole position for A1 Team Netherlands in Feature race qualifying.

With the title battle heating up the pressure is mounting on the top title contenders, but only a few minutes into the first qualifying segment the red flag was out as China’s Ho-Pin Tung spun and got stuck out on track. As the clock continued to tick down the green flags were waved but, with only a couple of minutes remaining, seven teams did not have time to record a lap. These included the two championship rivals, Switzerland and Ireland. The second qualifying segment began but Switzerland were in even more trouble as the engine died and left Jani stranded out on track, unable to set a time and bringing out a second red flag. As the teams lined up at the end of the pit lane, there was drama for Brazil’s Felipe Guimarães who struggled to get his car going, so hampering a number of teams exiting the pits as he got his car going again.

A trip down memory lane: Both Liuzzi and Doornbos were teammates in F3000 at Arden in 2004, Liuzzi winning the title at Spa and Doornbos winning the race at Spa.
Courtesy F3000
Despite both segments of Sprint race qualifying being interrupted by red flags, Liuzzi timed his run to perfection. Making full use of the one PowerBoost lap available to him he claimed pole position for A1 Team Italy on his A1GP debut with a time of 1-minute 30.875-seconds. The Netherlands kept its practice form together in qualifying with Robert Doornbos second on the grid for the Sprint, while A1 Team Ireland’s Adam Carroll kept his championship hopes alive by making up for a problematic day yesterday to start third.

Robert Doornbos
In Feature race qualifying the field had its first full 10-minute run without any interruptions and Doornbos was straight on the pace to post the provisional pole position time.  The Swiss mechanics worked frantically to get Jani back out on track for the final qualifying segment of the day, with the championship leader, the Netherlands, Ireland and Portugal, having PowerBoost available for their final runs of the day.

Doornbos went one grid position better in Feature qualifying to claim his first pole position of the series with a 1-minute 30.415-second lap, and is determined to take a win on his final outing for the team this season.

Ireland will line up alongside him on the front row after another good performance from Adam Carroll, while South Africa’s Adrian Zaugg scored the team’s best qualifying result of the season to start fourth.

Marco Andretti will start 8th for Team USA
Not one to falter under pressure, Jani put in a great lap to take third for the Feature race. After a disastrous Sprint race qualifying, the Swiss driver could be in a vulnerable position as both the Netherlands and Ireland look extremely strong heading into tomorrow’s races when the excitement in Portugal looks set to continue.

"Qualifying today didn't quite bring the results we wanted," said Team USA's Marco Andretti.  "Judging by how the car felt on the fast lap, I had thought the times would have been a bit higher. I'm definitely a little disappointed, but I think we have the car dialed in pretty well. I'm still confident in what we can do and have hopes for a strong finish tomorrow."

Italy’s Vitantonio Liuzzi said: “We got a bit warm after the red flag because the time was passing by in the first qualifying session. After we saw the green flag, we were just trying to get the right spot and it worked out really well I think.”

“It was an exciting day,” said the Netherlands’ Robert Doornbos. “In the Sprint qualifying we were aiming for the P1 spot. We were P1 and I thought that was quite easy because I didn’t use PowerBoost, but then we heard that Antonio (Liuzzi) was on PowerBoost. I thought he would pass me but still second was a good result. Then we went all out for the Feature race, because that is a race the Netherlands hasn’t won yet this season so is the target for this weekend. I wanted to be sure that I would get a lap in so I kept asking my engineer if there was traffic. He said no but then Lebanon came out into turn one, and we touched wheels. I passed him on the outside, and I was four tenths off in the first sector so I was shouting on the radio, but my engineer did a good job in calming me down and I tried to finish the lap. The car has been really good and I still managed to put in a good time and it was the longest ten seconds of my life waiting in the pit lane for Adam (Carroll) to finish but luckily we held onto pole.”

Ireland’s Adam Carroll said: “We decided not to finish the lap (in Q1) as there was just so much traffic in front so we just decided to save the tires. It’s not always nice when you don’t get a lap in but that’s the way it goes, you just forget about it and move onto the next one.

“I don’t actually know what goes on during qualifying. I don’t really watch it as I’m concentrating on what I’m doing, but we will have to beat everybody to win this championship. It’s going to be a tough race tomorrow and it should be good for everybody to watch.”

Portugal’s Filipe Albuquerque who will start fifth and seventh for his home event tomorrow commented: “We were pretty strong yesterday and this morning but basically on the new tires we were not fast enough. In Feature qualifying I was on the limit and made a small mistake and then the tires were dirty for the rest of the lap.”

The A1GP race will be shown on Setanta Sports on Monday, April 13, 8:00 am - 11:00 am ET.

Sprint Race Qualifying Result

Pos A1 Team Driver Time S1 Time S2 Time Gap First
1 ITALY Vitantonio LIUZZI 01:33.291 01:30.875 01:30.875 0.000
2 NETHERLANDS Robert DOORNBOS 01:32.677 01:31.346 01:31.346 0.471
3 IRELAND Adam CARROLL - 01:31.600 01:31.600 0.725
4 LEBANON Daniel MORAD 01:32.951 01:31.756 01:31.756 0.881
5 PORTUGAL Filipe ALBUQUERQUE 01:33.008 01:31.777 01:31.777 0.902
6 NEW ZEALAND Earl BAMBER 01:32.762 01:32.006 01:32.006 1.131
7 GERMANY Andre LOTTERER 01:32.084 01:32.084 1.209
8 SOUTH AFRICA Adrian ZAUGG 01:33.909 01:32.301 01:32.301 1.426
9 INDIA Narain KARTHIKEYAN 01:34.621 01:32.358 01:32.358 1.483
10 MONACO Clivio PICCIONE 01:34.191 01:32.420 01:32.420 1.545
11 MALAYSIA Fairuz FAUZY 01:34.398 01:32.929 01:32.929 2.054
12 USA Marco ANDRETTI 01:35.338 01:33.214 01:33.214 2.339
13 GREAT BRITAIN Daniel CLARKE 01:35.058 01:33.860 01:33.860 2.985
14 BRAZIL Felipe GUIMARAES - 01:33.985 01:33.985 3.110
15 INDONESIA Zahir ALI 01:35.348 01:34.005 01:34.005 3.130
16 MEXICO Salvador DURAN - 01:34.216 01:34.216 3.341
17 AUSTRALIA John MARTIN - 01:34.405 01:34.405 3.530
18 FRANCE Nicolas PROST 01:36.567 01:36.567 5.692
19 CHINA Ho Pin TUNG - 01:36.838 01:36.838 5.963
20 SWITZERLAND Neel JANI - - - -

Feature Race Qualifying Result

Pos A1 Team Driver Time S1 Time S2 Time Gap First
1 NETHERLANDS Robert DOORNBOS 01:31.423 01:30.415 01:30.415 0.000
2 IRELAND Adam CARROLL 01:31.477 01:30.696 01:30.696 0.281
3 SWITZERLAND Neel JANI - 01:30.878 01:30.878 0.463
4 SOUTH AFRICA Adrian ZAUGG 01:32.296 01:30.984 01:30.984 0.569
5 BRAZIL Felipe GUIMARAES 01:32.453 01:31.023 01:31.023 0.608
6 MALAYSIA Fairuz FAUZY 01:32.653 01:31.025 01:31.025 0.61
7 PORTUGAL Filipe ALBUQUERQUE 01:31.539 01:31.095 01:31.095 0.68
8 USA Marco ANDRETTI 01:32.521 01:31.459 01:31.459 1.044
9 MONACO Clivio PICCIONE 01:33.664 01:31.495 01:31.495 1.08
10 ITALY Vitantonio LIUZZI 01:32.134 01:31.852 01:31.852 1.437
11 NEW ZEALAND Earl BAMBER 01:31.925 01:32.422 01:31.925 1.51
12 AUSTRALIA John MARTIN 01:32.230 01:31.939 01:31.939 1.524
13 MEXICO Salvador DURAN 01:33.472 01:32.031 01:32.031 1.616
14 GERMANY Andre LOTTERER 01:32.429 01:32.269 01:32.269 1.854
15 LEBANON Daniel MORAD 01:32.352 01:49.948 01:32.352 1.937
16 GREAT BRITAIN Daniel CLARKE 01:33.504 01:32.400 01:32.400 1.985
17 INDIA Narain KARTHIKEYAN 01:32.504 01:33.985 01:32.504 2.089
18 INDONESIA Zahir ALI 01:33.878 01:32.573 01:32.573 2.158
19 FRANCE Nicolas PROST 01:33.061 01:32.941 01:32.941 2.526
20 CHINA Ho Pin TUNG 01:34.703 01:33.237 01:33.237 2.822

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