Double Pole for Ireland ahead of Brands Hatch Decider!
Brands Hatch, UK, 2nd May 2009; Adam Carroll will start the final two races of the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport from pole position after a sensational qualifying session for A1 Team Ireland in Brands Hatch today. Carroll proved unstoppable on low fuel with new tyres as he recorded his second double pole of the season to add to the landmark achievement recorded in New Zealand earlier in the season.
Ireland thus will complete the season with seven pole positions from 14 races, more than any other team and with the all important advantage heading into tomorrow's two races.
Carroll's Sprint race pole position came in the second of four 15 minute qualifying segments when he used his new set of Michelin tyres to good effect to edge out Mexico with Netherlands in third position. With two segments of Feature Race qualifying to come, there was no time for celebrations but the Ireland team had the handling of the A1GP Powered by Ferrari car dialled to perfection.
With some of his rivals having used the optional one lap of power boost for Sprint Race qualifying, Ireland were in confident mood heading into segment four with Carroll keeping his 60bhp engine boost in reserve for his final flying lap. Pushing to the very limits of adhesion around the 2.3 mile circuit, Carroll stopped the clock at 1 minute 10.902s, just under two tenths of a second ahead of team Monaco with the Netherlands in third place.
When he returned to the team garage Carroll was immediately swamped by team members and supporters but the Portadown man was relaxed about his latest achievement for Ireland.
"I'm delighted," said Carroll afterwards. "Two poles is the most we could ever hope for and it was interesting going in because we had really damaged the tyres in practice and weren't absolutely sure of our pace. But I knew that once we got the new tyres on in qualifying the car would be where it should be and sure enough it was. I just had to go out there and give it everything and put it all together.
"You've got to go out there with blind faith and judge the grip level. I'm not surprised at some teams using power before the final segment with it being the final weekend and feeling the need to give it a big one but I'm glad we stuck to our game plan and it paid off. This is just another weekend. I understand the importance of the outcome tomorrow and I will give 100%. I have total faith in the team and the equipment I'm given."
Team Principal Mark Gallagher paid tribute to the efforts of his squad but was eager to keep focused on Sunday's two races and the race for the title.
"It's terrific to see that sort of performance unfold, not just today but over the course of the season as they bolted on the tyres and Adam didn't just find tenths of seconds, he found whole seconds. It was a phenomenal performance. The plan is simple. Lead from the front and the pit stops are all important and we need to protect our lead. I've never seen a race or championship decided in qualifying yet so we need to focus on the real job which is to make tomorrow a successful day and if we can celebrate tomorrow as we've done today it will be a much bigger goal achieved."
Ireland is currently two points ahead of Switzerland under the terms of the dropped score rule which will be applied this weekend. Under this rule, each team has to drop its single worst score of the season to date, thereby giving Ireland its slender advantage over the reigning Champions.
Sunday's race action commences with the Sprint Race at 11am followed by the Feature Race at 3pm.
Drop Score Rule - The Points Situation
Three teams are mathematically in with a chance of lifting the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport this weekend:
Ireland, Switzerland and Portugal.
Total Points Scored
1, Switzerland 88 points
2, Ireland 86
3, Portugal 82
The Swiss are currently dropping four points from their worst event, Portugal and Ireland are dropping zero points, all three teams dropping them from Zandvoort, round one.
The adjusted table pre Brands Hatch looks like this:-
1, Ireland 86
2, Switzerland 84
3, Portugal 82
Sprint Race: 10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1 plus a point for fastest lap.
Feature Race: 15-12-10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1 plus a point for fastest lap.