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France and New Zealand on Pole at Eastern Creek

Saturday, February 2, 2008


Australia - A1 Team France put in a superb performance to qualify in pole position for tomorrow morning's Sprint race at the A1GP Sydney, Australia while the Feature race will be led off the grid by championship leader New Zealand.

Loic Duval (FRA), driver of A1 Team France
Sprint race qualifying
Loic Duval continued to impress the packed grandstands at Eastern Creek, clocking the fastest lap during the first 15-minute qualifying segment to take pole position for A1 Team France for tomorrow morning's Sprint race.

Switzerland's Neel Jani, who has been struggling with grip levels and tire wear this weekend, returned to his usual fine form to set the second quickest time during Q2 and line the Swiss car up alongside Duval on the front row.

South Africa's Adrian Zaugg qualified in third position while current championship leader New Zealand's Jonny Reid will start the race from fourth place on row two. China's Congfu Cheng and USA's Jonathan Summerton will line up on the third row of the grid in fifth and sixth place respectively.

Loic Duval (FRA), driver of A1 Team France and Jonny Reid (NZL), driver of A1 Team New Zealand
Feature race qualifying
Having completed qualifying for the Sprint race in cloudy and humid conditions, the drivers were greeted by sunshine and blue skies when they took to the track for Feature race qualifying five minutes later.

New Zealand's Jonny Reid put in a sensational performance to snatch pole position for the Feature race from title rival Switzerland's Neel Jani by 12 thousandths of a second. Reid was one of the first drivers on track in Q4 and set a time that claimed the first Feature Race pole of his A1GP career and his fourth pole position overall.

After failing to set a time in the first qualifying segment due to being held up by the Lebanese car spinning off at turn four, Great Britain's Robbie Kerr, who is without his race engineer this weekend, made a good recovery to qualify in third position for the Feature race. GBR race engineer James Goodfield suffered a broken leg on Friday night when he was hit by a tire gun hose that became disconnected when the Portuguese crew in the next door garage were practicing their pit stops.

A1 Team China's Congfu Cheng, who is having a great weekend, will line up in fourth place on the second row. A year on from the team's first podium finish at Eastern Creek, China enjoyed one of its most competitive qualifying sessions to date, topping the time sheets in the third qualifying segment.

Sprint race pole-sitter France's Loic Duval took the fifth spot ahead of South Africa's Adrian Zaugg who will start from sixth.

After the end of the qualifying session, Canada's Robert Wickens had his best overall time removed as a penalty for failing to comply with blue flags. His actions resulted in him holding up Brazil's Sergio Jimenez who was on his Q3 flying lap. Canada will start the Feature race from the last row in 21st position.

Home nation A1 Team Australia's John Martin will start the Sprint race from ninth, the nation's best qualifying performance so far this season and first top ten start on home soil. Martin will start the Feature race from 14th.

After an encouraging start to the weekend, Lebanon will start both races from the back of the grid. Chris Alajajian ran wide and spun into the tire wall on his out lap during the first qualifying segment and there was no time to repair the extensive damage sustained before the end of the session.

Season one champion France's Loic Duval, who has been on sensational form all weekend in what might be his last A1GP event this season, will start tomorrow's Sprint race from pole and the Feature race from fifth:

'The top step of the podium is our target. This is maybe my last weekend in A1GP so I would like to leave the series with a win. We are in the best position for the Sprint race which makes it easier for the start. I think we are quite competitive and we are always fighting from the front. If we can get a good start tomorrow morning it's going to be difficult for the other drivers to attack us.'

Reid gets a push from his crew in front of the empty grandstands
New Zealand's Jonny Reid, who is starting tomorrow's Feature race from pole position for the first time, said:

'We struggled to get a gap in qualifying one for the Sprint race and after that we changed our game plan and made sure we got clean, clear runs. The car's great and I'm extremely satisfied we've taken pole position. I was only able to qualify second here last year but this year we're on pole and I'm really pleased. Qualifying is one thing and racing is another but the car feels good and I'm confident with the team and I'm sure we can put in a strong performance tomorrow.'

Switzerland's Neel Jani, who will start the Sprint and Feature races from second on the grid, commented on his incredible return to form after a tough start to the weekend:

'Basically I was on average one and a half seconds slower than the guys next to me on every lap. We tried everything, we changed everything on the car and the mechanics had a long night session to see what the problem could be. The last thing we changed for qualifying was the tires and my first lap on new tires was two and a half seconds quicker than I ever was on the circuit so far. It was a shock to me in those first laps to feel that grip and how different the car was. In the end we still missed pole but we were close so it was a big change for me.'

Tomorrow's Sprint race at Eastern Creek Raceway in Sydney, Australia will start at 11.00 local time and the 70-minute Feature race will start at 15.00.

Sprint race qualifying results - A1GP Sydney, Australia (round 6 of 10)

1 FRANCE Loic DUVAL 01:18.149 01:18.375 01:18.149
2 SWITZERLAND Neel JANI 01:18.485 01:18.218 01:18.218 ×0.069
3 SOUTH AFRICA Adrian ZAUGG 01:18.243 01:18.343 01:18.243 ×0.094
4 NEW ZEALAND Jonny REID 01:18.799 01:18.368 01:18.368 ×0.219
5 CHINA Congfu CHENG 01:19.383 01:18.370 01:18.370 ×0.221
6 USA Jonathan SUMMERTON 01:19.371 01:18.464 01:18.464 ×0.315
7 GERMANY Michael AMMERMÜLLER 01:21.134 01:18.632 01:18.632 ×0.483
8 GREAT BRITAIN Robbie KERR 01:18.649 01:18.649 ×0.500
9 AUSTRALIA John MARTIN 01:19.679 01:18.690 01:18.690 ×0.541
10 NETHERLANDS Jeroen BLEEKEMOLEN 01:19.007 01:18.804 01:18.804 ×0.655
11 BRAZIL Sergio JIMENEZ 01:19.626 01:18.811 01:18.811 ×0.662
12 IRELAND Adam CARROLL 01:19.326 01:18.929 01:18.929 ×0.780
13 INDIA Narain KARTHIKEYAN 01:20.120 01:19.004 01:19.004 ×0.855
14 CZECH REPUBLIC Tomas ENGE 01:19.617 01:19.099 01:19.099 ×0.950
15 CANADA Robert WICKENS 01:19.197 01:19.609 01:19.197 ×1.048
16 MALAYSIA Fairuz FAUZY 01:19.709 01:19.384 01:19.384 ×1.235
17 PORTUGAL Joao URBANO 01:19.492 01:19.492 ×1.343
18 PAKISTAN Adam KHAN 01:20.749 01:19.623 01:19.623 ×1.474
19 MEXICO David GARZA 01:19.785 01:19.785 ×1.636
20 ITALY Edoardo PISCOPO 01:20.026 01:19.975 01:19.975 ×1.826
21 INDONESIA Satrio HERMANTO 01:20.154 02:00.395 01:20.154 ×2.005

Feature race qualifying results - A1GP Sydney, Australia (round 6 of 10)

1 NEW ZEALAND Jonny REID 01:19.683 01:18.578 01:18.578
2 SWITZERLAND Neel JANI 01:19.594 01:18.590 01:18.590 ×0.012
3 GREAT BRITAIN Robbie KERR 01:20.759 01:18.720 01:18.720 ×0.142
4 CHINA Congfu CHENG 01:19.359 01:18.825 01:18.825 ×0.247
5 FRANCE Loic DUVAL 01:19.643 01:18.829 01:18.829 ×0.251
6 SOUTH AFRICA Adrian ZAUGG 01:19.788 01:18.922 01:18.922 ×0.344
7 USA Jonathan SUMMERTON 01:20.150 01:18.976 01:18.976 ×0.398
8 CZECH REPUBLIC Tomas ENGE 01:20.335 01:19.232 01:19.232 ×0.654
9 BRAZIL Sergio JIMENEZ 01:40.741 01:19.235 01:19.235 ×0.657
10 MALAYSIA Fairuz FAUZY 01:20.455 01:19.252 01:19.252 ×0.674
11 NETHERLANDS Jeroen BLEEKEMOLEN 01:20.231 01:19.487 01:19.487 ×0.909
12 GERMANY Michael AMMERMÜLLER 01:20.138 01:19.516 01:19.516 ×0.938
13 MEXICO David GARZA 01:19.878 01:19.529 01:19.529 ×0.951
14 AUSTRALIA John MARTIN 01:19.761 01:19.611 01:19.611 ×1.033
15 IRELAND Adam CARROLL 01:20.193 01:19.706 01:19.706 ×1.128
16 PORTUGAL Joao URBANO 01:20.149 01:19.733 01:19.733 ×1.155
17 PAKISTAN Adam KHAN 01:20.591 01:19.852 01:19.852 ×1.274
18 INDIA Narain KARTHIKEYAN 01:19.878 01:19.951 01:19.878 ×1.300
19 ITALY Edoardo PISCOPO 01:20.486 01:20.051 01:20.051 ×1.473
20 INDONESIA Satrio HERMANTO 01:20.721 01:20.133 01:20.133 ×1.555

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