Chengdu: Team Ireland Saturday notes

Ireland on Pole in China! Dublin, 8th Nov 2008; A1 Team Ireland will start from pole and second positions on the grid respectively for the Sprint and Feature races in the second round of A1GP World Cup of Motorsport following Adam Carroll's ...

Ireland on Pole in China!

Dublin, 8th Nov 2008; A1 Team Ireland will start from pole and second positions on the grid respectively for the Sprint and Feature races in the second round of A1GP World Cup of Motorsport following Adam Carroll's stunning brace of lap times at Chengdu, China today.

It's Ireland's best ever qualifying performance with Carroll securing top spot for tomorrow's Sprint race and just missing out on pole for the Feature race by three hundredths of a second in his green A1GP Powered by Ferrari car.

Both qualifying efforts eclipse the previous best starting position for the team of third place, recorded four times. Ireland had high hopes of a strong qualifying session after setting second fastest time in final practice, just nine thousandths of a second slower than the Netherlands.

With thirteen cars within a second of each other, qualifying was always going to be an extremely close affair and that's how it turned out, Carroll just edging out the Netherlands by seven hundredths of a second to take top spot in the closing moments of the first segment of Sprint race qualifying.

A delay retrieving a stranded car meant the second single lap run was cancelled, thus ensuring that Ireland had finally secured the top starting spot after 33 A1GP events.

There was no time to celebrate, however, as the teams were pitched straight into qualifying for the Feature race and Carroll showed that Sprint race qualifying was no fluke, setting second fastest time, a scant three hundredths shy of the Great Britain car.

Adam was looking forward to pitching for pole once more in the second segment but track conditions changed and no leading team improved, leaving Ireland with the consolation of a double front row start.

"It's our best ever qualifying result and just reward for all the hard work put in by the team," said Team Principal Mark Gallagher afterwards. "After a difficult day yesterday, today was relatively straightforward by comparison and it was further evidence of the potential we showed in qualifying in Zandvoort.

"In some ways it was a little disappointing not to get the second pole for the Feature race but that just shows the ambition we have. Conditions changed, the track wasn't as quick and we missed out but, nonetheless, it's a very positive result. The track is bumpy and physically demanding so it's ideal to be at the front because it's going to be a busy couple of races.

"This year there is a mandatory pit stop in the Sprint race to go with the usual two stops in the Feature race so it places further responsibility on the pit crew on race day. Last year our pit stop times were consistently among the best so I'm quietly confident for the race. It's impossible to predict the outcome of these races but certainly our goal is for wins and podium finishes are our realistic minimum aim."

Adam Carroll: "It feels great to get Ireland's first ever pole position and to make it a double front row start is even better. It's quite a bumpy circuit so it's very important to put together a really clean lap.

"We were quick in final practice but we didn't focus too much on lap times from there because we knew we would be quite a lot faster in qualifying with the new rubber. The times are so close and the drivers are of such quality that it feels great to be at the front.

"The new Powered by Ferrari car is extremely quick with huge levels of downforce and it has really suited the team and my driving so far."

Team Technical Director Gerry Hughes: "It's very pleasing to be able to put a lap together on what is a very difficult circuit that has a different set of requirements to get the ultimate out of the car. This is good result for the team and a reward for a sensible approach after practice," he said.

"The track lost a little bit of potential towards the end of Feature race qualifying but second position is still a good position to start. We had made some minor changes to the car's set up over night but it was more about fine tuning."

"The Michelin tyres being used this year are very consistent and both races are like sprint races so it's great to have two front row starts which I hope will reward us with some points."

Tomorrow's Sprint Race starts at 11am local time, 3am Irish time while the Feature Race is scheduled to get under way at 3pm local, 7am Irish time.

-credit: ireland

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Series A1GP
Drivers Adam Carroll