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DATE News (chronologically)
09/18/07
a1gp
A1GP testing: New Zealand team on top  Silverstone, Great Britain – A1 Team New Zealand stormed to the top of the time sheets at the Silverstone circuit on the first day of the final A1GP official test, ahead of the start of the 2007/08 season.

New Zealand’s Jonny Reid set the pace this afternoon with a blisteringly quick time of 48.102s, breaking the lap record for an A1GP car around the National circuit by eight hundredths of a second. The previous lap record of 48.182s was set in 2005 by A1 Team France driver Alexandre Premat.

Reid commented: ‘Today we have just been trying things for longer runs and for qualifying runs and also just to see what the cars can do and we found some interesting things. The car was fantastic in the final run but there are definitely some areas where we can improve tomorrow.’

A1 Team India also enjoyed a strong afternoon session, Narain Karthikeyan clocking the second fastest time of the day of 48.362s and covering 102 laps. The 30 year old driver is feeling confident about what India can achieve at the first race of the new season: ‘We tried a lot of things to keep improving the car throughout the day. We still need to find a bit but I think we are going in the right direction. I’m looking forward to racing at Zandvoort next week. I went very well in Formula 3 at Zandvoort - it was a very long time ago I know, but I’m feeling very confident.’

A1 Team Netherlands dominated the morning session ahead of its home race at Zandvoort on 28-30 September, Jeroen Bleekemolen recording a fastest lap of 48.373s and finishing the day third fastest overall. The 25-year-old is feeling positive ahead of his home race: ‘We were really happy today because in the morning we were fastest, we found something on the car and we definitely improved. Then in the afternoon we tried something else which didn’t work, so then we weren’t up there in the times but I’m really pleased because overall we took the third fastest time and I think we really improved from the last test. Tomorrow we will be trying different things again, but I think we have already found a good base to start from in Zandvoort.’

At the end of the first day of the one and a half day test, Loic Duval, driving for A1 Team France, set the fourth fastest time and completed an impressive 154 laps. Duval was pleased with the first day of testing: ‘The car was great, I think we can be confident for the first race in Zandvoort. We don’t know exactly about the line up of the drivers yet, but we will see after Zandvoort.’

Cong Fu Cheng was at the wheel for A1 Team China today and the 23-year-old was on fine form, covering 93 laps and setting the fifth fastest time overall. Cheng said: ‘This morning was a little bit difficult because we had some small issues with the car and then the mechanics solved all the problems during the lunch break, so this afternoon was perfect and we were immediately on pace on the old tires. It was a bit unfortunate that I didn’t do a perfect lap on the new tires but in the end I think it is a good improvement from China.’

China was closely followed by A1 Team GBR’s Oliver Jarvis, who covered 85 laps on home turf and ended the day with the sixth fastest time. The 23-year-old said: ‘I think today we had a good day - we haven’t done a great deal of running, but we had prioritized to shake down the engine and work on a few bits and pieces. The day went reasonably well, I was a bit disappointed not to end up a bit further up the time sheets, but we always knew it was going to be tough as we were only on one set of tires today and most people run two. Overall not a bad day and we’re confident heading into the opening round at Zandvoort.’

Two female rookies tested the A1 Team Switzerland car today; Rahel Frey and Natacha Gachnang shared the driving duties with regular pilot and A1GP race winner Neel Jani.

All 22 teams will be back on track tomorrow morning for the final test session before the 2007/08 season kicks off at Zandvoort, The Netherlands on 28-30 September.
Official Test Session Day One (combined times)

A1 Team Driver Time No. Laps
1 New Zealand Jonny Reid 48.102 141
2 India Narain Karthikeyan 48.362 102
3 Netherlands Jeroen Bleekemolen 48.373 115
4 France Loic Duval 48.395 154
5 China Cong Fu Cheng 48.421 93
6 Great Britain Oliver Jarvis 48.432 85
7 South Africa Adrian Zaugg 48.540 109
8 Germany Christian Vietoris 48.567 94
9 Canada James Hinchcliffe 48.570 93
10 Ireland Ralph Firman 48.688 113
11 Switzerland Neel Jani 48.742 168
12 Pakistan Adam Khan 48.765 79
13 USA Buddy Rice 48.821 130
14 Malaysia Alex Yoong 48.890 94
15 Brazil Sergio Jimenez 48.925 111
16 Italy Enrico Toccacelo 48.956 138
17 Australia Ian Dyk 49.063 139
18 Portugal Joao Urbano 49.140 123
19 Lebanon Chris Alajajian 49.180 147
20 Czech Republic Erik Janis 49.213 135
21 Indonesia Satrio Hermanto 49.221 130
22 Mexico Juan Pablo Garcia 50.288 134

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