Marco Andretti gets 1st taste of A1GP

Marco Andretti in the team USA car

Third generation racer Marco Andretti had his first experience of A1GP when he was the first driver out onto China’s Chengdu International Circuit this morning in A1 Team USA’s car, and he liked what he saw, apart from the dust…

“They were certainly really difficult circumstances when I first went out. If it wasn’t dusty at any point around the lap, it was wet," the 21-year-old son of Michael and grandson of 1978 World Champion Mario, told, talking of several points on the circuit where natural springs weep out through the surface.

Andretti finished the day in eighth place for the USA, eight tenths of a second behind pace-setting Neel Jani, driving for Switzerland.

“From my short initial experience of the car, though, I can tell that it will be really nice to drive when we find the sweet spot.

“The steering is heavy because there’s no power steering, but it’s like an IndyCar as there is no traction control. Weirdly, the carbon brakes are more like those I’ve used on our American Le Mans Series sportscar.

“The Chengdu circuit is tough and our car is still a bit harsh over the bumps and this, obviously, affects braking for which you need as much grip as you can get. But, compared to some of the street circuits we’re used to racing on in the US, this is fine.

“Actually, my last race was two weeks ago in Australia, at Surfers Paradise, and that’s a rough ride as you have to use the curbs there for a quick lap and they’re massive."

Does Marco have a tip as to where the time can be found for a really quick lap here at Chengdu?

“Yes, the place to make up time is the esses after Turn 5. If you can get your car to hold the line there, you should be able to make up time on the others. I’m looking forward to the racing on Sunday, though, because there’s not an enormous amount that you can do to these cars in terms of set-up changes. A1GP

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