Portimao: Team Monaco Saturday notes

Portimao, 11 April 2009: A1 Team Monaco qualified in the top ten for both A1GP World Cup of Motorsport races tomorrow at the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve. Clivio Piccione will line up on the grid in 10th place for the morning's Sprint Race...

Portimao, 11 April 2009: A1 Team Monaco qualified in the top ten for both A1GP World Cup of Motorsport races tomorrow at the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve. Clivio Piccione will line up on the grid in 10th place for the morning's Sprint Race and in 9th position for the start of the Feature event in the afternoon.

This morning Team Monaco took to the track for Official Practice 3 after an early Red Flag situation by Indonesia. Clivio's lap times remained consistently in the top ten as the rest of the field joined the session and the circuit rubbered in. A further Red Flag interrupted running momentarily before Clivio was able to improve on his time, putting the team in P5 with 25 minutes of the hour-long session remaining. As team times continued to improve their times until the end of the session, it was Netherlands, Ireland and defending champions Switzerland who ultimately topped the time sheet, with Monaco's best lap time of 1:31.984 putting the team in 8th position when Official Practice concluded.

In the afternoon Team Monaco ventured out on track in the closing stages of Sprint Qualifying 1 after a Red Flag took up vital minutes of the short 10-minute session. As the cars lined up waiting for the Green Light to go on at the end of the pitlane, Team Monaco skilfully placed Clivio behind Portugal at the head of the queue for the track and was one of only 13 cars to set a lap time before the chequered flag was raised. Clivio crossed the line in a respectable 7th position. Due to the over running of SQ1, SQ2 commenced almost immediately and the Monegasque squad sent Clivio on to a clear track with 5 minutes remaining. Unfortunately the swift turnaround was in vain as a further Red Flag was deployed after Switzerland lost power at turn one. Clivio returned to the pits to join the queue to complete the session and set a 1:32.420 in the dying moments to put him in the top ten for tomorrow's Sprint race.

Clivio set a hot lap of 1:33.664 to sit in 17th position at the end of Feature Qualifying 1 this afternoon. When the final qualifying segment got underway Clivio utilised the PowerBoost button to set a fastest lap time of 1:31.495. Team Monaco will line up on the 5th row of the grid in 9th place for the start of the A1GP Algarve feature event tomorrow.

Clivio Piccione, Driver and Seat Holder: "We opted for an alternative qualifying strategy which would enable us to use two new sets of tyres tomorrow instead of one. In SQ2 I had to stop [due to a Red Flag] after our out lap and so lost the best of tyres. We set a reasonable time overall, but it should have been better. We used these tyres for the first Feature Qualifying session, but overall our lap time was not good. We used a new set of tyres and the push-to-pass (PowerBoost) in FQ2, but the session did not go to plan and I was struggling for grip. We tried something different today and it didn't work out, so for sure we have ground to make up tomorrow. Everyone in the team is still pushing hard and we have hope for the rest of the weekend."

Graham Taylor, Team Principal: "The morning session was a little disrupted by the early rain. The couple of changes we tried did not benefit the car, so for this afternoon we reverted back to what we knew. In Qualifying the Red Flag in SQ2 took the edge away from the tyres for the proper run and for the Feature race qualifying Clivio had lost some grip. We would prefer to be further up the grid, but feel we can still achieve some good results tomorrow."

-credit: monaco

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Series A1GP
Drivers Clivio Piccione