A1 Team Japan driver Hayanari Shimoda kept his pace from Friday's practice sessions in qualifying this afternoon to achieve his best starting position to date in 14th position for tomorrow's race. The first session was red-flagged due to the Mexican car running wide and ending up hitting one of the walls early in the session leaving most teams without a time.
14th (3.34.502 aggregate of 2 best laps)
This is my best qualifying position so far in the A1GP series and I am really pleased to be starting on the 7th row of the grid. Although we only managed three runs due to the first session being red-flagged and the track being dirty, I'm really pleased to be starting 14th. It's a shame really that I made a couple of mistakes in the fourth and last session as I believe the car today was easily good enough for a top ten position. I basically went too hard into the first sector and got oversteer and lost a couple of tenths. However, in the third sector I tried to make up time and lost a second in an incident just before the straight. Andy Stapley, my engineer and all of the team has really helped me to hone the car in the free practice sessions this weekend and I feel we have improved the balance to suit my driving style and this circuit.
Malcolm Swetnam (Team Manager, A1 Japan):
So far this weekend, all has gone very well. Hayanari and all of the A1 Team Japan crew have kept their heads down and worked with determination towards improving the car and ultimately the lap times. We have found a set- up that seems to suit Hayanari's driving style and he is working with us in an un-fazed manner. Whatever happens, he stays calm which helps when operating in this pressurised environment. Unfortunately we lost out on the first run due to the red flag and to play it safe and make sure the same thing didn't happen again, the team decided to send him out early in the last session which is not the norm for us. Tomorrow is the final test to see if Hayanari and the team can manage to add to the tally we already have, and to come away with points which would be a great Christmas present to us all.