Mixed emotions for Team Ireland Eastern Creek, Australia, 1 February 2008: Irish rookie, Niall Quinn, got his chance to get behind the wheel at Eastern Creek, Australia this morning with regular pilot Adam Carroll out ...
Mixed emotions for Team Ireland
Eastern Creek, Australia, 1 February 2008: Irish rookie, Niall Quinn, got his chance to get behind the wheel at Eastern Creek, Australia this morning with regular pilot Adam Carroll out this afternoon in what proved a difficult practice session for Belmayne A1 Team Ireland.
As the A1GP weekend got underway in Sydney a downpour of rain before the rookie session meant it was baptism of fire for Ireland's newest recruit. Niall Quinn finally got behind the wheel of the Irish car this morning after a much anticipated wait.
Dublin-born Niall is used to the 140 bhp of a Formula BMW machine and today made the big jump up stepping into the cockpit of the 500 bhp A1GP car. Adding to that a wet track, it meant extra caution was needed as the 19 year-old bedded in brakes alongside familiarising himself with both the track and the car.
By the end of the second 25-minute session a dry line had emerged and Niall was able to have some final runs on slick tyres before the chequered flag came out. His lap times were dropping each time round with him eventually clocking a 1m 24.436s by the end.
This afternoon proved difficult for Adam Carroll as the team couldn't make any progress due to, what was later discovered to be, some structural damage to the car.
Niall Quinn: "At the beginning in the wet it was quite hard to adapt to the car as the extra power was a bit new to me but as I went on I got more and more comfortable. When I got the slicks on for the last four laps I really got to push and lap times were coming down a second a lap I was pretty happy. I really enjoyed it as it's a really nice car to drive. After about five laps it didn't feel too fast anymore, but I think everything else will feel really slow from now on!"
Adam Carroll: "We shouldn't be that low down the standings this afternoon as the team are much better than that and we are always aiming to be in the top ten so there is clearly something wrong. There was just a real misbalance in the car today and lack of grip. We have another test session in the morning so if we can get the car right over night we will be fine for qualifying."
Dan Walmsley, Race Engineer: "We set out with a few objectives in the rookie session, we wanted to break Niall into the car gently and not ask him to do too much too soon and he did everything we asked of him. At the end of the session when we put the slicks on he was taking his time down really nicely and it's a pity we didn't have more laps. He's done a fantastic job in getting us set up for the weekend, has given us some very good information and helped us get through our brake bedding program. He acquitted himself well and showed a great deal of maturity. I'm very impressed with him and I hope we can look forward to working with him in the future.
"This afternoon was a very difficult session as we struggled with pace and overall grip. We started making some quite significant changes to overcome it, but whatever we threw at it didn't really lead us to a positive conclusion. Having looked at the chassis of the car we've established there is a crack in tub which we believe is compromising the performance of the chassis and so we're now looking at changing it for tomorrow to hopefully secure some better results. We ran a known
good set up of ours but we were still three seconds off the pace and with a driver of Adam's caliber and a team that prepares as well as we do we're disappointed but at the same time quite happy that we have found what we believe to be the problem. The team will be working very hard into the night to turn our fortunes around for tomorrow."