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DATE News (chronologically)
09/29/07
a1gp
Champ Car’s Jani sets pace in Saturday practice  The Netherlands - A1 Team Switzerland stormed to the top of the time sheets in free practice for the AquaSP A1GP Zandvoort, The Netherlands today, as the 2007/08 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport season finally got underway in wet and overcast conditions.

Neel Jani, on his first outing at Circuit Park Zandvoort, recorded the fastest lap of the day around the 2.6 mile circuit with a time of 1m45.090s. The Swiss driver - who has won two A1GP races to date - set the impressive lap time half way through the second session and held off A1 Team France, who have been on fine form all day, for the remainder of the one hour 10 minute session.

Jani is pleased with the team's performance so far and is looking forward to a challenging qualifying session this afternoon: 'It was a good session, we tried a lot of things and obviously it's my first time running at Zandvoort so I'm still learning the track a bit. The car is not running bad but I think it will be very hard to get it together for this one lap if it's wet in qualifying, so a lot of it will come down to luck today.'

Having snatched the top spot from A1 Team Mexico in the closing seconds of practice one, France's Loic Duval finished the second session just over three tenths off Jani's session-topping time. The Frenchman said: 'It's going well for the moment, but we will see this afternoon if the track conditions are different. I did the rookie session here last year and I've done some Formula 3 races here too - it's a nice track but I would have preferred dry conditions obviously.'

A1 Team Germany's Christian Vietoris was third quickest, closely followed by Mexico's Salvador Duran. The German rookie finished third fastest in both practice sessions and aiming for a front row spot in qualifying: 'It was quite a good morning for us and we tried a few things. I'm quite happy now and looking forward to qualifying which won't be so easy in the rain but I hope we can get on the front row.'

Fourth placed Duran was looking competitive in both sessions, dominating the time sheets for the second half of session one, despite having not sat in an A1GP car since his home race at Mexico City last March. The Mexican said: 'I'm really happy to come back to A1GP and to be at the front and I hope we can be quick in qualifying as well. I'm really excited because I was having some bad races in World Series but I really expect to do well this weekend. The track conditions are pretty difficult but I'm looking forward to this afternoon.'

Both sessions were incident-packed as the treacherous conditions and standing water caused many drivers to spin off the slippery circuit. A1 Team Canada's James Hinchcliffe was one of the worst affected, causing the session to be red flagged when his car flew off the track at turn four and slid into the tyre barriers. However, the 20-year-old insisted the accident looked far worse than it was, and that the necessary repairs will be made before qualifying this afternoon.
Hinchcliffe said: 'The car had a lot of understeer when I went into the corner but it was my mistake and it got loose.  I chose to take to the grass but I didn't see the access road and I got airborne. It was a bit of a hit before it landed, but it wasn't as bad as it looked. I came back unscathed. It was just a shame to create some extra work for all these Canada boys. But they will get it fixed, no problem. The car is not too bad considering what it looked like, but we'll be back on track for this afternoon.'
Dutch driver Jeroen Bleekemolen was on strong form in front of his home crowd, finishing sixth fastest in session one and fifth fastest in session two in the A1 Team Netherlands car.

The teams took part in two practice sessions today (Saturday) with a short break before qualifying this afternoon, due to the cancellation of the usual rookie sessions on Friday in line with the circuit's noise legislation.

Official Practice Session 1 (09:00 - 10:10)
Pos  Driver            Team            Time     Behind  Laps
 1.  Loic Duval        France          1:46.618           24
 2.  Salvador Duran    Mexico          1:46.671 + 0.053   25
 3.  C.Vietoris        Germany         1:47.232 + 0.614   24
 4.  Adrian Zaugg      South Africa    1:47.306 + 0.688   20
 5.  Ralph Firman      Ireland         1:47.560 + 0.942   21
 6.  J.Bleekemolen     Netherlands     1:47.717 + 1.099   21
 7.  Neel Jani         Switzerland     1:47.953 + 1.335   27
 8.  Enrico Toccacelo  Italy           1:48.019 + 1.401   25
 9.  Erik Janis        Czech Republic  1:48.441 + 1.823   23
10.  Oliver Jarvis     Great Britain   1:48.584 + 1.966   25
11.  Cheng Cong Fu     China           1:48.867 + 2.249   22
12.  N.Karthikeyan     India           1:49.234 + 2.616   27
13.  J.Hinchcliffe     Canada          1:49.697 + 3.079   21
14.  Ian Dyk           Australia       1:49.734 + 3.116   31
15.  Chris Alajajian   Lebanon         1:49.794 + 3.176   22
16.  Sergio Jimenez    Brazil          1:50.251 + 3.633   28
17.  Jonny Reid        New Zealand     1:50.489 + 3.871   27
18.  Joao Urbano       Portugal        1:51.181 + 4.563    8
19.  Adam Khan         Pakistan        1:51.189 + 4.571   30
20.  Alex Yoong        Malaysia        1:53.773 + 7.155   21
21.  Buddy Rice        USA             1:54.884 + 8.266   25
22.  Satrio Hermanto   Indonesia       1:55.851 + 9.233   19

Official Practice session 2 (11.50 - 13.00)
Pos  Driver             Team            Time     Behind  Laps
1    Neel JANI          SWITZERLAND     01:45.090 -      18
2    Loic DUVAL         FRANCE          01:45.445 +0.355 28
3    Christian VIETORIS GERMANY         01:45.852 +0.762 26
4    Salvador DURAN     MEXICO          01:45.930 +0.840 23
5    Adrian ZAUGG       SOUTH AFRICA    01:46.651 +1.561 25
6    Jeroen BLEEKEMOLEN NETHERLANDS     01:46.666 +1.576 23
7    Narain KARTHIKEYAN INDIA           01:46.726 +1.636 31
8    Enrico TOCCACELO   ITALY           01:46.726 +1.636 23
9    Ralph FIRMAN       IRELAND         01:47.175 +2.085 25
10   Oliver JARVIS      GREAT BRITAIN   01:47.501 +2.411 27
11   Jonny REID         NEW ZEALAND     01:47.631 +2.541 29
12   Erik JANIS         CZECH REPUBLIC  01:47.812 +2.722 26
13   Sergio JIMENEZ     BRAZIL          01:47.835 +2.745 29
14   Congfu CHENG       CHINA           01:48.214 +3.124 29
15   Ian DYK            AUSTRALIA       01:48.791 +3.701 32
16   Chris ALAJAJIAN    LEBANON         01:49.266 +4.176 26
17   Adam KHAN          PAKISTAN        01:49.342 +4.252 9
18   Joao URBANO        PORTUGAL        01:49.401 +4.311 17
19   Buddy RICE         USA             01:49.797 +4.707 29
20   Alex YOONG         MALAYSIA        01:50.489 +5.399 20
21   James HINCHCLIFFE  CANADA          01:50.751 +5.661 2
22   Satrio HERMANTO    INDONESIA       01:54.960 +9.870 22

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