Kyalami: Team New Zealand Saturday notes

STRATEGY AND LUCK COMBINE FOR NEW ZEALAND A1 Team New Zealand will start from third place for A1GP's Feature Race at South Africa's Kyalami circuit on Sunday, following a helpful combination of strong strategy and good luck. Backing up ...

STRATEGY AND LUCK COMBINE FOR NEW ZEALAND

A1 Team New Zealand will start from third place for A1GP's Feature Race at South Africa's Kyalami circuit on Sunday, following a helpful combination of strong strategy and good luck. Backing up the Feature grid position is a mediocre twelfth place start position for Sunday morning's Sprint Race.

The strong result for New Zealand in qualifying for the Feature Race came as a result of the team's strategy to get out on track earlier than many nations in the four qualifying sessions. In the all important fourth and final Q4, with fourteen nations still to use their PowerBoost laps, New Zealand were one of only five teams to record a lap time before the session was red flagged due to a nasty crash for Brazil.

New Zealand set its time with just over two minutes remaining in the session. Just a few seconds after Earl Bamber crossed the start/finish line in Black Beauty, Brazil's heavy contact with a barrier ended the session. Not only did it end the session, the red flag also slashed the chance for nations still to cross the line to set a faster lap time than they had set in Q3, the first of the Feature Race qualifying sessions.

Typically New Zealand's strategy sees Black Beauty post her lap-time with a few minutes remaining in Qualifying, whereas many nations leave their run for Pole to the dying seconds of the session. The chaos associated with often ten or more nations dashing for the chequered flag within a few seconds highlights the wisdom in the Kiwi strategy.

This means New Zealand lines up on the grid for the Feature Race with only Pole-sitter Monaco and second placed Malaysia ahead, while perennial Rugby rival Australia line up along-side New Zealand in fourth place. Interestingly, championship leaders Ireland, as well as Sprint Race qualifying pace setters The Netherlands, Portugal and Switzerland line up behind New Zealand, setting up a thrilling showdown on the opening lap for the Feature Race.

The lap-time recorded by New Zealand's in Q4 was set at a 1.27.569, just 0.3 seconds shy of Monaco's time of 1.27.269. As this is the first time the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport has raced at Kyalami, Monaco's time is the fastest ever time recorded by an A1GP car around the South African circuit.

Winding the clock back half an hour, Qualifying for the Sprint Race was not such a successful affair. In Q1, New Zealand's stood second with three minutes to run, but a host of other nations improved at the end of the session, dropping Black Beauty back to eleventh on a time of 1.30.120.

While New Zealand improved to set a time of 1.29.364 in Q2, a small handful of nations using their PowerBoost lap in Sprint Race Qualifying dispersed New Zealand back to an eventual twelfth place. The Netherlands will start from Pole Position for the Sprint Race, followed by Portugal and Switzerland.

Coverage of Qualifying will be shown on TV3 at 5pm on Sunday, while the Sprint and Feature Races are shown on Monday morning starting at 12.55am.

-credit: new zealand

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Series A1GP
Drivers Earl Bamber