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Great Britain dominate Friday practice
Great Britain – Home team Great Britain dominated the first day of practice for the RAB Capital A1GP Brands Hatch, Great Britain today, increasing the odds of it taking the series’ first-ever home win at the 2006/07 season finale on Sunday.

GBR rookie and Mexico Feature race winner Oliver Jarvis, recorded the fastest lap of the day with a time of 1.15.043 in this morning’s practice session for rookies and developing nations, beating the current track record of 1.16.547. Jarvis commented: ‘This morning we started on old tires. Once I had done my duties the tires were probably 25 laps old, so the time we did was very reasonable and very competitive. I think if we had done a bit more running in the second session we probably could have improved on that. Unfortunately I had to do another set of pads and also the red flags ended the session early.’

The two sessions were interrupted several times by a series of red flags, limiting the track time for all teams. Talking about the disruptions, Jarvis commented: ‘Brands is very much like a street circuit in the sense that out the back if you make a mistake it is going to cost you – you are in the wall in the gravel – so it is very difficult to find that limit and it is all about improving a little bit every lap and eventually the time will come.’

Main driver, Robbie Kerr, who took his first win for the team in the Shanghai Sprint two weeks ago, went on to top the afternoon session with a fastest lap time more than half a second quicker than second placed India. Unfortunately the session ended badly for the British team as Kerr took a trip into the gravel trap bringing out the red flag that finally suspended the session.

Commenting on the incident, Kerr said: ‘We changed the car a little bit and we went back out there to try to see if it had improved it. Unfortunately it went the other way and it just could not ride the bumps as well and sent the back round as simple as that.

‘It was quite good fun until we were in the gravel. It was a good session the whole way through and we had a good car from this morning. We tried a couple of things, some worked and some didn’t and so we have just got to look at tomorrow, look at what is working, try to improve both driver and car. We will do that and then we will go quicker tomorrow.’

However, Narain Karthikeyan is determined to close that gap to GBR on a circuit he knows well. “I did a lot of Formula 3 races here and I like the circuit. We still have to fine tune the car a bit. In the second session we missed about sixty per cent of the session because we had a puncture. Anyway GBR is very, very quick and I need to close the gap and if we can do that we will be quick. The idea is to keep improving the car and I think we will be okay.”

Team owner, Tony Clements, was clearly pleased with the day’s performance and looked forward to the rest of the weekend: ‘We can’t go into this session with a better record than we have over the last three meetings. We had a second, a second, a first, a first and a second, and I think both the boys have demonstrated already that the car’s set up well for Brands Hatch and they both know the track. Unless we have the sort of mishap we had at the inaugural race here, we are going to be up there and very competitive, and I think Robbie has demonstrated he is going to be knocking on the door. Whether we are going to be able to secure sufficient points to close that gap with New Zealand is obviously not just up to how Robbie does, but that is going to depend upon New Zealand as well.’

For A1 Team New Zealand the day did not go as smoothly. The team missed the morning, session as neither Reid nor Halliday qualify as rookies, and its afternoon session was cut short after Reid hit the wall after coming off the track at Westfield. This could not have come at a worst time as the team is defending its second place in the championship standings from Great Britain, the only team that can displace it from the position it has held for most of the season.

Official Practice Session 1 – Rookie drivers and developing nations only

1 Great Britain  Oliver Jarvis 1.15.043 20
2 USA  Jonathan Summerton 1.15.665 22
3 India  Narain Karthikeyan 1.16.037 19
4 South Africa  Gavin Cronje 1.16.464 22
5 France  Jean Karl Vernay 1.16.611 20
6 Switzerland  Marcel Fassler 1.17.248 21
7 Portugal  Joao Urbano 1.16.790 22
8 China  Congfu Cheng 1.16.795 24
9 Netherlands  Renger van der Zande 1.17.366 24
10 Czech Republic  Jan Charouz 1.17.377 20
11 Australia  Ian Dyk 1.17.557 25
12 Indonesia  Moreno Soeprapto 1.17.578 18
13 Canada  Kevin Lacroix 1.17.680 12
14 Lebanon  Allam Khodair 1.18.474 15
15 Italy  Michele Rugolo 1.18.686 15
16 Malaysia  Aaron Lim 1.18.687 17
17 Ireland  John O’Hara 1.19.109 16
18 Pakistan  Nur Ali 1.22.784 17
19 Mexico  Juan Pablo Garcia 1.22.974 14

Official Practice session 2

1 Great Britain  Robbie KERR 1:15.086 24
2 India  Narain KARTHIKEYAN 1:15.661 23
3 France  Loic DUVAL 1:15.813 21
4 USA  Jonathan SUMMERTON 1:15.815 15
5 Germany  Nico HÜLKENBERG 1:15.943 30
6 China  Congfu CHENG 1:16.169 17
7 Malaysia  Alex YOONG 1:16.229 27
8 Switzerland  Sebastien BUEMI 1:16.381 28
9 South Africa  Adrian ZAUGG 1:16.410 21
10 Canada  Sean MCINTOSH 1:16.419 31
11 Portugal  Alvaro PARENTE 1:16.423 28
12 Netherlands  Jeroen BLEEKEMOLEN 1:16.438 23
13 Italy  Enrico TOCCACELO 1:16.470 25
14 Indonesia  Ananda MIKOLA 1:16.709 22
15 Lebanon  Allam KHODAIR 1:16.769 11
16 Brazil  Bruno JUNQUEIRA 1:17.117 27
17 Ireland  Richard LYONS 1:17.497 24
18 Australia  Ian DYK 1:17.746 19
19 Czech Republic  Jan CHAROUZ 1:17.753 19
20 New Zealand  Jonny REID 1:19.341 2
21 Mexico  Juan Pablo GARCIA 1:19.405 29
22 Pakistan  Nur ALI 1:19.568 25

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