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Ireland in Pole Position for A1GP Title

Saturday, May 2, 2009


A happy Adam Carroll

A1 Team Ireland’s Adam Carroll drove two stunning laps to put the Celtic Tiger on pole position for both of tomorrow’s A1GP Brands Hatch races, boosting the team’s chances of lifting the World Cup of Motorsport tomorrow.

With four minutes to go in the first qualifying segment of the day, Malaysia’s Aaron Lim was first to turn a wheel closely followed by the rest of the field making for a chaotic final few minutes. Netherlands’ Jeroen Bleekemolen posted the quickest time with an impressive margin of 0.6 seconds on the rest of the field, with Ireland just behind in second. A1 Team Great Britain’s Dan Clarke made a good start to the day recording the third-quickest time as qualifying got underway.

In the final segment of Sprint qualifying, however, nine teams opted to use their one PowerBoost available during qualifying hoping to go for glory in the final Sprint race of the season. One of the nations to employ this tactic was championship hopeful Portugal. However, on new tires, Carroll recorded a 1m 11.615s, without using the extra horse power available to claim the front spot. Mexico’s Salvador Duran made the most of his PowerBoost to record a 1m 11.653 to start alongside Ireland on the front row, with Netherlands’ Bleekemolen ending the session third. Portugal’s Filipe Albuquerque, one of the three teams still in contention for the title, will start fifth. Without PowerBoost Switzerland recorded the eighth quickest time to keep its title hopes alive. Jani will start just ahead of Indonesia’s Satrio Hermanto who claimed the team’s best grid position in two-years on his return to the race seat.

USA, Indonesia and France went out early in the first segment of Feature qualifying, followed by Italy’s Tonio Liuzzi, who spun at Sheen curve, keeping the engine going but ruining his hot lap. In a change to its usual strategy, championship contender Switzerland opted to use PowerBoost, initially putting it on provisional pole. Ireland went second quickest, ahead of Monaco, New Zealand and Australia.

In a dramatic final segment China and South Africa were both out early, using their PowerBoost laps to record a final time of the day.

There was a slight hesitation as Brazil’s Felipe Guimarães crashed heavily just as Switzerland and Ireland were about to leave their garages. The pair headed out on track with the yellow flags luckily being withdrawn before they began their hot laps, going head-to-head to try and grab the top spot in what was a tense drama. Ireland, who had saved its PowerBoost for its final run, recorded another stunning time of 1m10.902s but Switzerland’s Neel Jani ended in the gravel at Druids, and will start fourth for tomorrow’s Feature race.

Portugal’s Filipe Albuquerque will start fifth and ninth. Great Britain’s Dan Clarke will start 13th and 14th in the Sprint and Feature races respectively, and will be hoping to move up the field in front of his home fans tomorrow.

“It’s a good start, and that’s where I wanted to be,” said Ireland’s Adam Carroll, “as close to the front as possible. The car felt very good, we were unsure after testing but I knew we just needed new tires and the guys gave me a great car.”

“We came into this weekend knowing we had to attack it to be at the front so it was a little bit risky, but with Brazil going off it was a good decision not to red flag the session and allow us the opportunity to go out and get pole.”

Second for the Sprint race, Mexico’s Salvador Duran said: “I have been working with this car for three weekends now and I am starting to get confident. I knew that as soon as I came to a circuit I was familiar with we would start seeing the car go better. I am going to go out tomorrow with all that I have and win some points, now that the Mexico race is cancelled we need to do something for the supporters and I will do my best.”

Monaco’s Clivio Piccione, who will be on the front row for the Feature race said: “That last lap was pretty good, I am a bit disappointed Ireland got ahead of me in the last minute but that’s the game. The car went really well overall so I am looking forward to the race. I think we are aiming to finishing on a high so will do what I can; I am here to win it.”

Sprint Race Qualifying Result

Pos A1 Team Driver Time S1 Time S2 Time Gap First
1 IRELAND Adam CARROLL 01:12.950 01:11.615 01:11.615
2 MEXICO Salvador DURAN 01:13.205 01:11.653 01:11.653 0.038
3 NETHERLANDS Jeroen BLEEKEMOLEN 01:12.355 01:11.992 01:11.992 0.377
4 USA John R. HILDEBRAND JR. 01:13.759 01:11.994 01:11.994 0.379
5 PORTUGAL Filipe ALBUQUERQUE 01:13.495 01:12.040 01:12.040 0.425
6 NEW ZEALAND Earl BAMBER 01:13.960 01:12.108 01:12.108 0.493
7 INDIA Narain KARTHIKEYAN 01:13.100 01:12.109 01:12.109 0.494
8 SWITZERLAND Neel JANI 01:13.654 01:12.212 01:12.212 0.597
9 INDONESIA Satrio HERMANTO 01:14.277 01:12.658 01:12.658 1.043
10 AUSTRALIA John MARTIN 01:13.088 01:12.745 01:12.745 1.13
11 LEBANON Daniel MORAD 01:14.498 01:12.889 01:12.889 1.274
12 FRANCE Nicolas PROST 01:13.528 01:13.011 01:13.011 1.396
13 GREAT BRITAIN Daniel CLARKE 01:13.019 01:13.220 01:13.019 1.404
14 MONACO Clivio PICCIONE 01:13.507 01:13.260 01:13.260 1.645
15 GERMANY Michael AMMERMULLER 01:13.329 01:13.329 1.714
16 ITALY Vitantonio LIUZZI 01:13.693 01:13.549 01:13.549 1.934
17 BRAZIL Felipe GUIMARAES 01:14.809 01:13.584 01:13.584 1.969
18 MALAYSIA Aaron LIM 01:15.774 01:13.686 01:13.686 2.071
19 SOUTH AFRICA Alan VAN DER MERWE 01:14.341 01:13.854 01:13.854 2.239
20 CHINA Congfu CHENG 01:14.881 01:13.861 01:13.861 2.246

Feature Race Qualifying Result

Pos A1 Team Driver Time S1 Time S2 Time Gap First
1 IRELAND Adam CARROLL 01:11.710 01:10.902 01:10.902
2 MONACO Clivio PICCIONE 01:12.113 01:11.085 01:11.085 0.183
3 NETHERLANDS Jeroen BLEEKEMOLEN 01:12.635 01:11.146 01:11.146 0.244
4 SWITZERLAND Neel JANI 01:11.338 01:11.338 0.436
5 FRANCE Nicolas PROST 01:12.881 01:11.543 01:11.543 0.641
6 NEW ZEALAND Earl BAMBER 01:12.549 01:11.633 01:11.633 0.731
7 AUSTRALIA John MARTIN 01:12.581 01:11.930 01:11.930 1.028
8 CHINA Congfu CHENG 01:13.832 01:12.180 01:12.180 1.278
9 PORTUGAL Filipe ALBUQUERQUE 01:12.710 01:12.270 01:12.270 1.368
10 INDIA Narain KARTHIKEYAN 01:12.651 01:12.397 01:12.397 1.495
11 USA John R. HILDEBRAND JR. 01:12.662 01:16.551 01:12.662 1.76
12 SOUTH AFRICA Alan VAN DER MERWE 01:13.990 01:12.730 01:12.730 1.828
13 MEXICO Salvador DURAN 01:12.740 01:13.464 01:12.740 1.838
14 GREAT BRITAIN Daniel CLARKE 01:12.756 01:12.756 1.854
15 LEBANON Daniel MORAD 01:12.766 01:13.319 01:12.766 1.864
16 GERMANY Michael AMMERMULLER 01:13.588 01:12.797 01:12.797 1.895
17 BRAZIL Felipe GUIMARAES 01:13.048 01:13.048 2.146
18 ITALY Vitantonio LIUZZI 01:13.131 01:13.131 2.229
19 INDONESIA Satrio HERMANTO 01:13.735 01:13.560 01:13.560 2.658
20 MALAYSIA Aaron LIM 01:14.203 01:14.817 01:14.203 3.301

2008/09 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport points standings     

1 Switzerland 88
2 Ireland 86
3 Portugal 82
4 Netherlands 66
5 France 46
6 Malaysia 43
7 New Zealand 36
8 Australia 30
9 Monaco 27
10 Great Britain 24
11 USA 19
12 South Africa 19
13 Brazil 18
14 Italy 15
15 India 11
16 Mexico 8
17 Lebanon 8
18 China 7
19 Korea 4
20 Indonesia 3
21 Germany 2

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