Hinchcliffe Tabs Top-Ten Feature Start for Canada Qualifying for Round 2 of the 2007-08 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport in the Czech Republic proved to be a tale of two halves for James Hinchcliffe as he followed up a 20th place grid slot for ...
Hinchcliffe Tabs Top-Ten Feature Start for Canada
Qualifying for Round 2 of the 2007-08 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport in the Czech Republic proved to be a tale of two halves for James Hinchcliffe as he followed up a 20th place grid slot for Sunday's Sprint race by securing A1 Team Canada's first top-ten start of the season with 10th on the grid for the Feature race.
A suspected problem set of tires in Saturday morning's final practice had a substantial impact on the balance of Canada's car with the team continually chasing a set-up throughout the session. James recorded the 11th fastest time on the 5.40km Brno circuit but armed with a fresh set of tires for his first qualifying run, it quickly became evident that there had been issues with the previous set of rubber which in turn had compromised the team's set-up strategy.
Ultimately the 20-year-old failed to log a qualifying time in the first session with the Canadian released from the pits a fraction too late to make it back round to start his flying run before the checkered flag. With just one lap to set a time for the Sprint race James qualified 20th on the grid.
Still chasing a competitive set-up and firmly up against the clock, James' first Feature run on used tires was only good for a lap time of 1m47.657s, 16th fastest in the session. Opting for a more aggressive set-up on the final run, this time on new tires, the gamble paid off for Canada as Hinchcliffe improved his lap time by nearly two seconds, posting a 1m45.889s to lock down 10th on the Feature grid.
South Africa's Adrian Zaugg secured pole for the Sprint, his third consecutive A1GP pole, while Jeroen Bleekemolen of The Netherlands beat Zaugg to the top spot for the Feature.
"It's unfortunate that we effectively wasted this morning's practice working on a set-up with a questionable set of tires," said Hinchcliffe. "Our theory about the tires was proved correct as soon as we started qualifying and we were up against it from then on. I have to give credit to Simon (Cayzer) and the team as they kept their cool throughout and we've emerged with a decent Feature start."
Sunday's 20-minute Sprint race starts at 11am local time (5am EST) with the 70-minute Feature race starting at 3pm in the Czech Republic (9am EST).
Setanta Sports will broadcast Round 2 on 15th October at 8am EST and SPEED will air Round 2 on 31st October at Noon EST