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Portugal Sets Pace in Shanghai

A1GP
Friday, April 11, 2008

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Filipe Albuquerque
Photo courtesy A1GP
Shanghai, China - A1 Team Portugal's Filipe Albuquerque was on superb form today, topping the time sheets in both of the official free practice sessions in Shanghai, as the penultimate round of the 2007/08 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport got underway at the Shanghai International Circuit in cool and cloudy conditions.

Twenty-two year old Albuquerque, who scored an impressive first podium finish on his A1GP debut in Durban seven weeks ago, was the man to beat this afternoon, setting a time of 1m35.223s around the 4.6km Chinese circuit. Having set the pace early on in this morning's rookie driver and developing nations session, Portugal's Albuquerque improved on his lap time by over a second this afternoon, again in the opening minutes of the session, and held the top spot for the remainder of the hour.

Filipe Albuquerque in front of the disappointing A1GP Friday crowd
Photo courtesy A1GP
The Portuguese car was closely followed by New Zealand's Jonny Reid, who won the Shanghai Feature race last year and has his sights firmly set on a repeat performance on Sunday. Filip Salaquarda, who represented his nation in Shanghai last year, was third quickest in the Czech car this afternoon while current title leader Switzerland's Neel Jani finished fourth fastest overall, just ahead of Germany's Michael Ammermüller in fifth.

Franck Montagny was impressive on his A1GP debut for France, clocking the fourth fastest time on only his second run in the French car and ending the afternoon seventh overall behind GBR's Robbie Kerr, admitted it had been a long time since he had driven a car like this and he just needed a bit more time to get used to it as he described it as 'quite nervous'.

Congfu (Franky) Cheng
Photo courtesy A1GP
Home nation China's Congfu (Franky) Cheng, who is not eligible to take part in the rookie sessions, finished the day ninth fastest behind USA's Jonathan Summerton.

The times have been close today, with just over a second separating the top 12 this afternoon, setting the scene for a tremendous qualifying session at the Shanghai International Circuit tomorrow (Saturday) afternoon.

Portuguese rookie Filipe Albuquerque, who was the man to beat today, is aiming for his first A1GP pole position tomorrow:

'It's always good to do as many laps as possible because I'm a rookie in this car. I'm still learning the skills to drive it and put it all together perfectly and the more laps I do the better I get. The pace of the car is getting good, especially with the new tires and I think we are in the running for the pole. I would prefer it for sure, but it's not going to be as easy as it looks. I'm still working on the car but I'm not happy with the speed and I need a lot more. We will see but definitely we are on the front run to get to the pole.'

China's Congfu Cheng, who finished the day ninth overall, reflected on the first day of action in Shanghai and looked ahead to qualifying tomorrow:

'It's a pity that I didn't take part in the rookie session this morning because I would have had more laps to get used to the set up of the car and the new tires and get more familiar with the circuit. I raced here last year though and I will be able to give more information to my team tonight and during practice tomorrow morning. The qualifying session tomorrow will be very competitive and I'm sure we will be able to improve on today.'

Official Practice Session 1 - Rookie drivers and developing nations only

POS A1 TEAM DRIVER TIME S1 TIME S2 TIME GAP
1 PORTUGAL Filipe ALBUQUERQUE 01:36.876 01:36.575 01:36.575
2 FRANCE Nicolas PROST 01:37.722 01:36.895 01:36.895 0.32
3 SWITZERLAND Alexandre IMPERATORI 01:36.950 01:36.902 01:36.902 0.327
4 CANADA Daniel MORAD 01:37.581 01:36.969 01:36.969 0.394
5 ITALY Davide RIGON 01:37.378 01:36.989 01:36.989 0.414
6 GREAT BRITAIN Duncan TAPPY 01:37.504 01:37.682 01:37.504 0.929
7 AUSTRALIA Nathan ANTUNES 01:37.793 01:37.932 01:37.793 1.218
8 IRELAND Niall QUINN 01:38.342 01:37.912 01:37.912 1.337
9 BRAZIL Felipe GUIMARAES 01:39.106 01:38.018 01:38.018 1.443
10 CZECH REPUBLIC Filip SALAQUARDA 01:38.188 01:38.106 01:38.106 1.531
11 NETHERLANDS Arie LUYENDYK 01:38.715 01:38.144 01:38.144 1.569
12 SOUTH AFRICA Wesleigh ORR 01:38.335 01:38.948 01:38.335 1.76
13 MALAYSIA Aaron LIM 01:38.366 01:38.361 01:38.361 1.786
14 INDONESIA Satrio HERMANTO 01:39.742 01:38.886 01:38.886 2.311
15 LEBANON Jimmy AUBY 01:38.895 01:39.415 01:38.895 2.32
16 INDIA Parthiva SURESHWAREN 01:45.674 01:40.190 01:40.190 3.615

Official Practice session 2

POS DRIVER A1 TEAM LAP TIME GAP_FIRST LAPS
1 Filipe ALBUQUERQUE PORTUGAL 2 01:35.223 - 19
2 Jonny REID NEW ZEALAND 4 01:35.600 0.377 19
3 Filip SALAQUARDA CZECH REPUBLIC 11 01:35.609 0.386 18
4 Neel JANI SWITZERLAND 19 01:35.646 0.423 20
5 Michael AMMERMÜLLER GERMANY 16 01:35.657 0.434 23
6 Robbie KERR GREAT BRITAIN 11 01:35.689 0.466 19
7 Franck MONTAGNY FRANCE 9 01:35.822 0.599 22
8 Jonathan SUMMERTON USA 11 01:35.845 0.622 22
9 Congfu CHENG CHINA 18 01:35.903 0.68 24
10 Daniel MORAD CANADA 7 01:35.913 0.69 11
11 Adrian ZAUGG SOUTH AFRICA 9 01:36.428 1.205 18
12 Jeroen BLEEKEMOLEN NETHERLANDS 16 01:36.457 1.234 21
13 Xandi NEGRAO BRAZIL 16 01:36.482 1.259 25
14 Adam CARROLL IRELAND 15 01:36.523 1.3 20
15 Alex YOONG MALAYSIA 21 01:36.543 1.32 21
16 Edoardo PISCOPO ITALY 24 01:36.560 1.337 26
17 Narain KARTHIKEYAN INDIA 12 01:36.584 1.361 21
18 John MARTIN AUSTRALIA 12 01:36.598 1.375 25
19 Adam KHAN PAKISTAN 20 01:37.049 1.826 26
20 Jimmy AUBY LEBANON 15 01:37.166 1.943 23
21 Satrio HERMANTO INDONESIA 7 01:37.456 2.233 24
22 Jorge GOETERS MEXICO 21 01:38.414 3.191 26

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