Aiming for the rostrum!
Today, A1 Team France continued its preparations on the Brands Hatch circuit for the seventh and final round of the 2008-09 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport Championship.
After studying the data collected yesterday, the team changed the car's set-up to improve its mechanical grip for free practice this morning. Nicolas Prost proved that it was a step in the right direction by setting the ninth-quickest time on worn tyres.
In qualifying, the team was satisfied with the balance of its chassis and decided to use its power boost in the fourth segment. Thus, it was beaten by some of its rivals who had decided to use theirs earlier. In these conditions Nicolas's twelfth time after the first 2 segments was encouraging, as the team knew it would be possible to go much quicker in the final 2 parts.
The best was yet to come. To avoid any red or yellow flags or traffic problems A1Team France decided to go out early in the last part of qualifying. It wa s the right choice. Nicolas was fourth after his flying lap and then dropped only one place to Team Ireland, which bagged pole.
Starting from fifth on the grid in the Feature race A1 Team France has achieved the first part of its aim this weekend. Thanks to an aggressive strategy and the consistency of its driver, it will be going for the rostrum tomorrow. Such a performance would be the ideal way to end the 2008-09 Championship on a high note.
Olivier Panis, Sporting Director: "We've been a bit unlucky these past few weeks and having an incident-free day is a pleasant change. Today, we've shown that when everything goes off without a hitch we've got what it takes to fight at the front. The team's done a fantastic job setting up the car for this very demanding layout, and Nicolas seems to have tamed the track in record time! Now, we've got to finish the season on a high note, and I reckon we'll have every reason to celebrate tomorrow."
Free practice 2: 9th time in 1m 13.480s
Qualifying 1 & 2: 12th time in 1m 13.011s
Qualifying 3 & 4: 5th time in 1m 11.543s
"After the difficult weekend we had in Portugal three weeks ago, today's performance is a real morale booster! Brands Hatch is a very technical circuit: mastering it takes time and some of my rivals had the advantage of having done a lot of racing here in the past. I tried to find the settings that worked as quickly as possible, and I'm satisfied with the result. Now, we're going to concentrate on the two races tomorrow and we'll really try our hardest to shine on our last outing this season."
AB Motors will televise the 1st race at 15h00 on Sunday (french time). Race 2 will be shown at 16h00 (live) on NT1.