Brands Hatch, 2 May 2009: A1 Team Monaco's Clivio Piccione will start in second position for the Feature event and from the seventh row of the grid for the Sprint race - the final rounds of the 2008/9 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport at Brands Hatch tomorrow.
Clivio made an immediate impact on the time sheet when he ventured out on track in the opening minutes of this morning's Official Practice 3. In the early stages of the sixty-minute session current circuit best lap time setters team Netherlands set the bench mark of running in the 1:12's. Clivio sat in P3, only 0.4 seconds off the leaders pace, for the first half of the session. A further push improved his time to 1:13.039, however this now only secured Clivio fifth place. With only 15 minutes left on the clock a Red Flag situation suspended running for several minutes. When the session re-started a further Red Flag was immediately deployed and the decision was made to conclude running. Clivio was therefore unable to improve on his time and ended the session in fifth position overall.
In the afternoon the complete field of 20 teams waited in the pits until the closing stint of Sprint Qualifying 1. With the exception of Germany, everyone timed their last minute outing to ensure that they took the chequered flag. Clivio crossed the line in a respectable 8th position with a 1:13.507. In SQ2 the Monegasque squad sent Clivio on to a clear track with over four minutes remaining. Clivio started his hot lap with a stunning first sector time, but unfortunately ran wide as he pushed the car to the limit, costing him valuable time. Whilst the top of the time sheet scored in the 1:11's, Clivio set a fastest lap time of 1:13.260 to put him in 14th position for tomorrow's Sprint race.
Clivio set his best time of the weekend so far - a 1:12.113 - to sit in third position at the end of Feature Qualifying 1. When the final qualifying segment got underway he utilised the PowerBoost button, setting a fastest lap time of 1:11.085 to sit in provisional pole. Championship contenders Switzerland and Ireland waited until the last possible moment before leaving the pitlane to chase Monaco's fantastic time. In an exciting climax to the final Saturday session of the season it was Ireland who snatched the double-pole, with Team Monaco lining up alongside them on the first row of the grid, in second position for the start of the A1GP Brands Hatch feature event tomorrow.
Clivio Piccione, Driver and Seat Holder: "We are disappointed in the qualifying for the Sprint race as we struggled with a gearbox issue in both the runs. We had a look at the data and I changed my driving style for the problem corners and the changes worked. In the first feature qualifying session we used old tyres and went considerably quicker, so that was encouraging. We knew that we were quick from our times in practice, so we knew that we could achieve the time we needed to. In the last session I used the push-to-pass early and the lap was pretty good. To be on the front row of the grid with the championship contenders for the last race of year feels great."
Graham Taylor, Team Principal: "First and foremost I would like to congratulate Clivio for a great lap and the team for a job well done. Team Monaco had a lot of work to do this weekend. The boys worked extremely hard to get the car on to the circuit and the performance of our driver put paid to their efforts. We are now looking forward to ending our inaugural season on a very high note."