Durban: Team Canada Saturday report

Hinchcliffe To Dig Deep After Qualifying Disappointment Saturday 24 February, 2007 -- A1 Team Canada endured a disappointing day in Durban Saturday as James Hinchcliffe qualified 20th for Round 8 of the 2006-07 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport,...

Hinchcliffe To Dig Deep After Qualifying Disappointment

Saturday 24 February, 2007 -- A1 Team Canada endured a disappointing day in Durban Saturday as James Hinchcliffe qualified 20th for Round 8 of the 2006-07 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport, hosted Sunday at the South African city's specifically designed 3.28km street circuit.

Down on track time following the red-flagging and subsequent cancelling of Friday afternoon's official practice session with 30-minutes remaining, the Canadian team struggled to capture recent form in Saturday morning's final practice outing, Hinchcliffe languishing uncharacteristically down at the lower end of the timesheets.

Things failed to improve for the 20-year-old Toronto racer, with eight top-ten A1GP starts to his credit this season, when the afternoon's qualifying session kicked off. 15th fastest in the first of his four timed runs, the fastest two setting his aggregate lap time to determine his Sprint race grid slot, James' second lap, on used rubber, was hampered by a gear selection problem.

With a series of red flags interrupting the flow of the session, James then posted a 1m19.771s lap, his fastest of the session to that point but only good for 19th on the timesheets as lap times continued to tumble. Frustratingly another red flag forced James to sit at the end of pitlane awaiting his fourth and final run, the intervening period cooling his tire temperatures. Despite a faster lap of 1m18.922s when he was finally unleashed, Hinchcliffe was left to rue what might have been having made a slight mistake at Turn 10, losing seven tenths of a second in the process -- potentially costing a top-15 start.

"Well fingers crossed hopefully we can find something in the car overnight that will allow us to compete tomorrow," stated Hinchcliffe. "For sure I'm going to have to dig deep and as a team we have a lot of work to do to if we hope to get something from the weekend. Overtaking's tough on street courses but the Feature race could give us a chance to sneak back into the points."

Nico Hulkenberg scored Germany's third straight qualifying pole, the six-time race winner joined on the front row for tomorrow's Sprint race by New Zealand's Matt Halliday, the Sprint results determining the starting line-up for the 70-minute Feature race.

Sunday's Sprint race starts at 11am local time (4am EST) with the Feature race starting at 3pm in Durban (8am EST). SPEED will air all the action from Round 8 in South Africa as a tape-delayed broadcast on Wednesday 28th February starting at 4pm EST -- www.speedtv.com

-credit: canada

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About this article
Series A1GP
Drivers James Hinchcliffe , Nico Hulkenberg , Matt Halliday