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DATE News (chronologically)
01/18/08
a1gp
France Tops Friday Practice in Taupo  

Loic Duval

New Zealand - A1 Team France topped the time sheets in the second of today's two free practice sessions at Taupo  as all 22 drivers took to the track with biofuel in their tanks, making history at round five of the 2007/08 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport season.

Despite not taking part in the rookie session this morning, 25-year-old French driver Loic Duval clocked the best lap of the day, completing the 3.5km circuit in 1m15.545s in glorious sunshine.

'It was a good session for us especially without the rookie session this morning', Duval said. 'We worked with the data from last year and I think the car was great, I feel really good here. Actually it means nothing to be on the front row on Friday, it happened many times last year and I didn't get pole position, so that is my target for tomorrow.'

The magnificent Lake Taupo provides the backdrop for one of the most picturesque races of the season and Duval sites the event as one of the highlights on the A1GP calendar:

'For me this is the best country we go to, it's really good here. It feels more like a holiday. I love the track, the people, the mentality, it's just perfect to be here.'

Ireland's Adam Carroll, who was the quickest man on track in the first 25-minute practice segment this morning, set the second fastest time of the day while championship leader Switzerland's Neel Jani finished third, just over a tenth of a second off the emerald green car.

Defending champion Germany's Christian Vietoris has been on strong form all day and the 18-year-old from Gönnersdorf set the fourth fastest time of the day while USA's Jonathan Summerton took the fifth spot. A1 Team Great Britain driver Robbie Kerr finished the day in sixth place, closely followed by Canada's Robert Wickens in seventh, who was on superb form in this morning's rookie session.

Home nation A1 Team New Zealand's Jonny Reid was eighth quickest this afternoon but remains optimistic for the weekend ahead. The 24-year-old from Auckland finished the day eighth fastest overall.

'It was a very tough session,' Reid said. 'Everyone was very very tight in the times but we've got some areas where we can improve. The track conditions were changing a lot and obviously we didn't get as close as we would have liked, but there's still plenty of time over these early days. There's not too much to change overnight really. We had a small problem which we will improve but if we actually look at all my sector times I'm sure we're very close to France, so we just need to capitalize on one small area and hopefully we will be there.'

Australia's new lead driver John Martin was an impressive second fastest in both sessions this morning, finally ending the day in 12th place behind Italy's Edoardo Piscopo.

The times are just under a second slower than last year, largely due to Turn 12 being a much tighter corner, designed to increase overtaking opportunities.

Official Practice Session 1 - Rookie drivers and developing nations only

POS A1 TEAM DRIVER TIME S1 LAP S1 TIME S2 LAP S2 TIME GAP FIRST
1 CANADA Robert WICKENS 01:18.0 7 01:17.1 12 01:17.1
2 AUSTRALIA John MARTIN 01:17.3 13 01:17.2 16 01:17.2 0.167
3 IRELAND Adam CARROLL 01:17.3 11 01:17.8 12 01:17.3 0.244
4 GERMANY Christian VIETORIS 01:17.6 12 01:17.4 12 01:17.4 0.374
5 NEW ZEALAND Brendon HARTLEY 01:17.8 14 01:17.5 16 01:17.5 0.382
6 MEXICO David GARZA 01:18.2 13 01:17.7 15 01:17.7 0.636
7 NETHERLANDS Arie LUYENDYK 01:17.8 12 01:18.2 15 01:17.8 0.77
8 ITALY Edoardo PISCOPO 01:18.7 13 01:17.9 16 01:17.9 0.788
9 LEBANON Chris ALAJAJIAN 01:18.2 10 01:18.0 9 01:18.0 0.91
10 USA Charlie KIMBALL 01:19.5 12 01:18.0 10 01:18.0 0.929
11 SOUTH AFRICA Wesleigh ORR 01:18.7 14 01:18.4 3 01:18.4 1.298
12 GREAT BRITAIN James WINSLOW 01:19.6 11 01:18.4 14 01:18.4 1.349
13 INDONESIA Satrio HERMANTO 01:19.4 14 01:18.8 12 01:18.8 1.767
14 BRAZIL Clemente DE FARIA JR. 01:21.0 14 01:19.0 16 01:19.0 1.94
15 SWITZERLAND Tom DILLMAN 01:19.3 15 01:19.1 12 01:19.1 2.046
16 MALAYSIA Aaron LIM 01:20.6 12 01:19.7 8 01:19.7 2.672
17 PORTUGAL Federico DUARTE 01:24.0 6 01:21.3 2 01:21.3 4.197
18 INDIA Parthiva SURESHWAREN 01:23.9 6 0 01:23.9 6.832
19 CZECH REPUBLIC Jarek JANIS 01:31.8 3 0 01:31.8 14.74

Official Practice session 2 (14.00 - 15.00)

POS DRIVER A1 TEAM TIME GAP_FIRST LAPS
1 Loic DUVAL FRANCE 01:15.5 - 23
2 Adam CARROLL IRELAND 01:15.8 0.254 19
3 Neel JANI SWITZERLAND 01:15.9 0.374 19
4 Christian VIETORIS GERMANY 01:16.0 0.441 23
5 Jonathan SUMMERTON USA 01:16.0 0.455 26
6 Robbie KERR GREAT BRITAIN 01:16.0 0.482 19
7 Robert WICKENS CANADA 01:16.1 0.52 18
8 Jonny REID NEW ZEALAND 01:16.1 0.529 29
9 Jeroen BLEEKEMOLEN NETHERLANDS 01:16.2 0.683 22
10 Adrian ZAUGG SOUTH AFRICA 01:16.3 0.723 20
11 Edoardo PISCOPO ITALY 01:16.4 0.892 26
12 John MARTIN AUSTRALIA 01:16.5 0.918 25
13 Sergio JIMENEZ BRAZIL 01:16.6 1.008 28
14 Alex YOONG MALAYSIA 01:16.6 1.029 27
15 Narain KARTHIKEYAN INDIA 01:16.6 1.045 25
16 Chris ALAJAJIAN LEBANON 01:16.8 1.232 20
17 David GARZA MEXICO 01:16.8 1.265 23
18 Tomas ENGE CZECH REPUBLIC 01:17.0 1.422 25
19 Joao URBANO PORTUGAL 01:17.1 1.544 30
20 Congfu CHENG CHINA 01:17.3 1.771 27
21 Adam KHAN PAKISTAN 01:17.7 2.129 26
22 Satrio HERMANTO INDONESIA 01:18.3 2.74 26

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