Team Ireland hit the streets of Durban Durban, South Africa: Irish rookie, Niall Quinn, was back in the cockpit as Belmayne A1 Team Ireland took to the streets of Durban with Portadown's Adam Carroll taking over for the ...
Team Ireland hit the streets of Durban
Durban, South Africa: Irish rookie, Niall Quinn, was back in the cockpit as Belmayne A1 Team Ireland took to the streets of Durban with Portadown's Adam Carroll taking over for the afternoon.
In the 29-degree heat, Niall took to the dusty track bedding in brakes to help the team prepare for the weekend ahead. The 500bhp cars powered through the twisty wall-enclosed track with Niall undaunted by the challenge having had previous experience on street circuits in Formula BMW. With it being his first run on a dry track in A1GP, he gradually brought his lap time down as he got chance to push harder towards the end of the session, clocking a 1m 23.401s.
Adam Carroll got his first taste of the Durban streets in the afternoon official practice session, with a cautious approach to help gain as much information as possible heading into Saturday. The walls are unforgiving as many drivers found out, causing four red flags over the course of the day to interrupt proceedings. Adam settled for a 1m 20.354s without wanting to push too hard on the first day on track and the team were feeling positive as the final session came to a premature end when the Netherlands hit the wall at Turn 10.
Niall Quinn: "It was good. I'm happy with the progress we made bedding in the brakes and then getting a few quick laps in. I messed up my last lap which was a bit of a disappointment as it could have been a good one, but that's racing. It was a good experience driving on a street circuit. It was pretty tight and at the beginning there was absolutely no grip as there was dust and sand everywhere. Towards the end the grip was better but it's still nowhere near good so you can't commit. Some corners it's very difficult to get on the power because of the bumps and even the straights are quite bumpy; it's a tough circuit. My main job was bedding in brake disks and pads which took up most the session so there was very little time to push, but the more weekends I'm here, the quicker I will get!"
Adam Carroll: "The circuit is quite good. It's got a couple of really hard corners and Turn 10 in particular is really slippery in the mid-part of the corner. I don't want to do anything silly, we're struggling in a few places but hopefully we can improve tomorrow. Car doesn't feel too bad but its quite hard round here as its so bumpy its hard to get a feel for things. But we're just trying to generate more grip and keep it out the walls and later on we'll push harder."
Dan Walmsley, Race Engineer: "Mission accomplished. We really wanted to get off to a solid start this weekend as the worst thing on a street circuit is starting behind everyone else. Niall's objectives were to go out and get the team ready for the rest of the weekend which is exactly what he did. It's his first time running on a dry track and unfortunately it's a narrow, dusty street circuit but the lap times were coming down throughout the session. Niall continues to get to grips with the car and improve within the team so we're very happy with his performance. We're very happy going into this afternoon. We've got some good feedback from Niall to try for set up and we look forward to getting out there with a new set of tyres and hopefully posting a competitive lap time this afternoon.
"We finished P16 this afternoon which isn't ideal but we've been doing a lot of work on the set up. It's a new circuit to Adam and he's been trying to learn it but there have been a lot of red flag
incidents which stopped us running as much as we'd like to have done. We're still on the learning curve, we'd have liked to have been further up but there's always tomorrow and we got some really good information out that session to help us move forward. There's no sense of despair in the team, it's just are true potential is not reflected in the lap times yet. We have a little bit of work to do overnight to give Adam a car he can attack the corners with a bit more. It's a street circuit which is all about confidence and when Adam has that confidence the lap time will come. We want to maintain a momentum over the weekend and losing track time is the worst thing you can do, so it was pretty much the objective to keep the car out the wall and make sure we got to the end of the session in one piece, which we achieved."