Circuito Estoril, 21 October - Atrocious weather conditions affected the first day's running of the A1 Grand Prix of Nations at the Circuito Estoril near Lisbon. While the morning's additional test sessions and the first official practice session...
Circuito Estoril, 21 October - Atrocious weather conditions affected the first day's running of the A1 Grand Prix of Nations at the Circuito Estoril near Lisbon. While the morning's additional test sessions and the first official practice session were held on a wet to damp track, the final session of the day was delayed by 25 minutes due to standing water.
It was local hero and newly crowned Formula 3 champion, Alvaro Parente who led the time sheet after the first test of the day. Two additional sessions were added to the race programme for Estoril and the Portuguese driver set a time of 1.54.918 in the first one that kicked off at 09.30. At the end of the second of the two 40 minute sessions, it was fellow Portuguese speaker Nelson Piquet Jr representing A1 Team Brazil who was fastest with a time of 1.51.916.
A1 Team Portugal's Alvaro Parente said of his local track: 'In 2002 I had my first and only race at Estoril, I know a lot of British tracks better than this one. I have done some testing here, I like the track and we seem to have improved on the car. There have been some changes that have been made which have improved the car a lot and I think that we can be competitive here.'
It was business as usual for A1 Team France who won both races in Germany but this time it was Alexandre Premat behind the wheel setting the fastest time of the day on a much drier but still damp track during the first official practice session. His best time of 1.33.024 was nearly seventh tenths of a second quicker than second placed A1 Team Germany who for the first time this season, have Adrian Sutil as their race driver.
Even though practice session two got away 25 minutes late, the conditions ensured that all the times were considerably slower. A1 Team France kept their momentum recording the fastest time in the second session as well at 1.52.037.
Commenting on the day's action, A1 Team France's Alexandre Premat said: 'Conditions were very difficult during the shakedown and practice sessions. For session one the track was bit wet and dry, which made it difficult sometimes, but I did a good time with the new tyres. In the second session we did a lot of work on the wet set-up, the car has not been good in the wet, the team did a really good job and now it is now much better. I am confident for qualifying tomorrow, although a lot of work still needs to be done.'