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Canada and Switzerland on Pole in Durban

Saturday, February 23, 2008


South Africa - A1 Team Canada's Robert Wickens put in a stunning effort to qualify in pole position for tomorrow morning's Sprint race at the A1GP Durban, South Africa, circuit becoming the youngest ever pole-sitter in the series, while the Feature race will be led off the grid by Switzerland's Neel Jani.

Robert Wickens
Sprint race qualifying
Eighteen-year-old rookie Robert Wickens set the fastest lap during the second 15-minute qualifying segment to take pole position for A1 Team Canada for tomorrow morning's Sprint race, claiming the team's first ever pole position and the first of his A1GP career.

Brazil's Bruno Junqueira, who was 12th quickest in practice this morning, leapt up the time sheets to qualify in second position alongside Canada while New Zealand's Jonny Reid and GBR's Oliver Jarvis will start the race from third and fourth place on row two. Switzerland's Neel Jani and Germany's Michael Ammermüller will line up on the third row of the grid in fifth and sixth place respectively.

Ireland's Adam Carroll cruised to a halt early on in the first qualifying segment with a fuel pump problem and only six nations managed to set a time as the session was red-flagged with three minutes remaining, when the New Zealand car spun off the track. The start of the second qualifying segment was delayed slightly while the track was cleared.

South Africa's Adrian Zaugg will start the Sprint race from the back of the grid in 22nd place as he pushed hard and spun out at turn three, failing to set a flying lap time.

Neel Jani
Feature race qualifying
Switzerland's Neel Jani, who just pipped GBR to take provisional pole in the third qualifying segment, bettered his time in the final qualifying segment to secure pole position for tomorrow's Feature race. Sprint race pole-sitter Canada's Robert Wickens, who is having a superb weekend, will start the race from second place alongside the Swiss car on the front row.

New Zealand's Jonny Reid, who has never raced on a street circuit before, qualified in third position while Great Britain's Oliver Jarvis, the first driver to break the lap record around the streets of Durban this weekend, will line up in fourth place on the second row.

Brazil's Bruno Junqueira took the fifth spot ahead of the Netherlands' Jeroen Bleekemolen who will start from sixth place. Germany's Michael Ammermüller and France's Loic Duval qualified seventh and eighth while Portugal's Filipe Albuquerque and Australia's John Martin will line up on the fifth row in ninth and 10th position respectively.

Home nation A1 Team South Africa's Adrian Zaugg will start the Feature race from a disappointing 15th position, after taking to the track early on in the session and getting stuck in traffic.

Canada's Robert Wickens is having a great weekend in Durban and was pleased to achieve his nation's first pole position and the team's best combined qualifying performance to date:

'We had a really good run in qualifying, the car was really solid underneath me and I was able to put in a pretty good lap. It's Canada's best qualifying ever so I'm excited to get them their first pole and their second front row start.'

Neel Jani after winning the pole
Feature race pole-sitter Neel Jani, who has now notched up four pole positions for the Swiss team this season, said: 'It was a tough qualifying session, especially missing the first segment because of the red flags so I really had to push in the second one for the Sprint grid. Adrian spun in front of me and I didn't know where to so I had to break to avoid him which cost me a lot of time but I'm still fifth so I'm happy with that. Then in segments three and fourth I was quickest and we improved the car a little bit but I had to really push a lot and it was still very close at the end.'

Adrian Zaugg endured a difficult qualifying session in the South African car this afternoon and will start the Sprint race from 22nd and the Feature race from 15th:

'We were one of the teams to get caught out at the third turn in the second segment - I don't know what changed but for sure it was more slippery out there than it was in free practice - and then in the third segment I got held up by New Zealand I think. I wanted to push for it in the last segment but we had a problem with the pick up of the engine so we didn't even go for a lap. I think it will be difficult to improve or even get points in the Sprint race but definitely in the Feature I think we should be able to get some points.'

Tomorrow's Sprint race in Durban, South Africa will start at 11.00 local time and the 70-minute Feature race will start at 15.00.

Sprint race qualifying results - A1GP Durban, South Africa (round 7 of 10)

1 CANADA Robert WICKENS 01:18.150 01:18.150
2 BRAZIL Bruno JUNQUEIRA 01:18.168 01:18.168 0.018
3 NEW ZEALAND Jonny REID 01:18.229 01:18.229 0.079
4 GREAT BRITAIN Oliver JARVIS 01:18.410 01:18.410 0.26
5 SWITZERLAND Neel JANI 01:18.470 01:18.470 0.32
6 GERMANY Michael AMMERMÜLLER 01:18.7 01:18.708 01:18.650 0.5
7 NETHERLANDS Jeroen BLEEKEMOLEN 01:18.717 01:18.717 0.567
8 MALAYSIA Fairuz FAUZY 01:19.091 01:19.091 0.941
9 INDIA Narain KARTHIKEYAN 01:19.2 01:19.213 1.063
10 PORTUGAL Filipe ALBUQUERQUE 01:19.224 01:19.224 1.074
11 CHINA Congfu CHENG 01:19.261 01:19.261 1.111
12 AUSTRALIA John MARTIN 01:20.6 01:19.423 01:19.423 1.273
13 MEXICO David GARZA 01:19.812 01:19.812 1.662
14 USA Jonathan SUMMERTON 01:19.815 01:19.815 1.665
15 PAKISTAN Adam KHAN 01:20.2 01:20.204 01:20.204 2.054
16 ITALY Edoardo PISCOPO 01:20.294 01:20.294 2.144
17 FRANCE Loic DUVAL 01:21.310 01:21.310 3.16
18 CZECH REPUBLIC Josef KRAL 01:21.919 01:21.919 3.769
19 LEBANON Khalil BESCHIR 01:22.0 01:22.050 3.9
20 INDONESIA Satrio HERMANTO 01:24.2 01:23.808 01:23.808 5.658
21 IRELAND Adam CARROLL ×1:18.150
22 SOUTH AFRICA Adrian ZAUGG ×1:18.150

Feature race qualifying results - A1GP Durban, South Africa (round 7 of 10)

1 SWITZERLAND Neel JANI 01:17.8 01:17.7 01:17.7
2 CANADA Robert WICKENS 01:19.0 01:17.8 01:17.8 0.122
3 NEW ZEALAND Jonny REID 01:18.6 01:17.9 01:17.9 0.192
4 GREAT BRITAIN Oliver JARVIS 01:17.9 01:17.9 01:17.9 0.228
5 BRAZIL Bruno JUNQUEIRA 01:18.7 01:18.0 01:18.0 0.263
6 NETHERLANDS Jeroen BLEEKEMOLEN 01:19.2 01:18.0 01:18.0 0.314
7 GERMANY Michael AMMERMÜLLER 01:19.3 01:18.0 01:18.0 0.356
8 FRANCE Loic DUVAL 01:19.0 01:18.1 01:18.1 0.413
9 PORTUGAL Filipe ALBUQUERQUE 01:19.4 01:18.3 01:18.3 0.569
10 AUSTRALIA John MARTIN 01:19.8 01:18.7 01:18.7 1.028
11 CHINA Congfu CHENG 01:19.5 01:18.8 01:18.8 1.092
12 MALAYSIA Fairuz FAUZY 01:19.3 01:18.8 01:18.8 1.125
13 IRELAND Adam CARROLL 01:18.8 01:18.8 1.136
14 PAKISTAN Adam KHAN 01:19.2 01:18.9 01:18.9 1.229
15 SOUTH AFRICA Adrian ZAUGG 01:18.9 01:18.9 1.237
16 USA Jonathan SUMMERTON 01:20.3 01:18.9 01:18.9 1.239
17 INDIA Narain KARTHIKEYAN 01:18.9 01:18.9 1.244
18 ITALY Edoardo PISCOPO 01:22.2 01:19.9 01:19.9 2.17
19 MEXICO David GARZA 01:20.2 01:20.7 01:20.2 2.482
20 CZECH REPUBLIC Josef KRAL 01:23.1 01:20.4 01:20.4 2.681
21 LEBANON Khalil BESCHIR 01:21.1 01:21.1 01:21.1 3.436
22 INDONESIA Satrio HERMANTO 01:26.7 01:21.4 01:21.4 3.72

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