Portimao: New Zealand Friday notes

PROMISING PACE FOR NEW ZEALAND AT ALGARVE A1 Team New Zealand is off to a promising start for Round Six of the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport, this weekend taking place at the Autodromo Internacional Algarve. Earl Bamber, New Zealand's ...

PROMISING PACE FOR NEW ZEALAND AT ALGARVE

A1 Team New Zealand is off to a promising start for Round Six of the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport, this weekend taking place at the Autodromo Internacional Algarve.

Earl Bamber, New Zealand's nominated driver for the weekend was on the pace from the first lap of the Rookie session, at the near new circuit. With no previous round of an A1GP championship being held at the circuit in Portugal's Algarve region, Bamber proved his time on the A1GP simulator allowed him to get on the case immediately.

By the completion of the two back-to-back thirty minute Rookie sessions, Bamber had set a time of 1.34.147, just over half a second faster than second placed France. More encouraging for him was the time was not set on the best tyres available to him, due to a number of red flags stopping the Rookie sessions.

The most spectacular stoppage was caused by the Brazilian car after it hit a tyre barrier at high speed, resulting in a long delay to clear the heavily damaged car.

With the extra mileage of the Rookie session under his belt, Bamber was quickly on the pace in the first of the main Practice sessions run on Friday. Weather for the main Practice session was dry, after damp patches at times in the Rookie sessions.

With a dry track in the main Practice session, lap times fell considerably when compared with the Rookie sessions. Bamber continued his strong pace, recording a time of 1.32.030, just over two seconds faster than his Rookie time, but more importantly, placing him second in the first official Practice, and only 0.068 seconds off the fastest time set by The Netherlands.

Championship leader A1 Team Switzerland was sixth fastest in the first main Practice session.

With a positive start to their weekend, driver and crew in the New Zealand garage are happy with Black Beauty's initial pace. There is one further Practice session on Saturday morning to refine Black Beauty's settings, before hitting the four Qualifying sessions on Saturday afternoon.

Qualifying results can be expected to be somewhat mixed as has been the case for much of the season, with teams able to use PowerBoost for a full lap of the circuit in one of the four Qualifying sessions. With an extra sixty horsepower, a few tenth's of a second can be shaved off a lap time if used properly.

This weekend's driver line-up on the A1GP grid will go down as one of the strongest yet, with a number of ex Formula One drivers lining up including A1GP 'Rookie' and former Red Bull Toro Rosso driver Vitantonio Liuzzi.

Weather for remainder of the race weekend is predicted to be dry, and with a setup on Black Beauty that both driver and team are happy with, New Zealand's weekend in the Algarve is so far looking good.

Coverage of Qualifying can be viewed on TV3 on Sunday at 3.40pm, while racing action gets underway on Monday morning at 12.55am.

Earl Bamber, Driver

"I really enjoy the track. It's really fast, with an average speed of around 185km/h. It's not dangerous but there is lots of excitement with a number of blind brows around the place."

"We've still got some more to come from the car but we've got strong pace on old tyres which is always good. The car has been getting better with every run."

John Sears, Team Manager

"Everything has gone well today. We should be in a position to fight for Pole tomorrow, or at least the top six to eight without the PowerBoost."

"It's quite an unusual track, and has a number of off camber corners. We've also noticed that the track changes quite a lot during a session."

-credit: new zealand

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About this article
Series A1GP
Drivers Vitantonio Liuzzi , Earl Bamber
Teams Toro Rosso