GREAT BRITAIN AND FRANCE SET FOR BATTLE IN SENTUL, INDONESIA
Sentul - A1 Teams Great Britain and France look set for a close fight in this weekend's Gudang Garam A1GP Sentul, Indonesia after the two traded fastest times during today's two practice sessions. Competition will be fierce however as the top 15 set times within one second of each other.
Britain's rookie Oliver Jarvis recorded the fastest time during the opening practice hour, just 0.099secs quicker than young French talent Loic Duval. The teams switched positions in the later session on the 4.12km track, with Frenchman Nicolas Lapierre capturing the top spot, a slim 0.048secs quicker than Briton Robbie Kerr.
Jarvis said he pushed himself during the session, despite the challenging humid weather conditions "It's a very challenging circuit, especially the third and fourth corners and it pushes the drivers to the limits. I think as a racing driver you adapt and don't notice the temperatures too much and when you are in the car it is fine, it is when you are back out of the car that you feel it more. As long you drink lots of water before going out there it should be all right out there.
Jarvis admitted he faced another battle; one with his team-mate Kerr. "I would love to be racing the car but unfortunately Robbie is number one driver at the moment with A1 Team GBR and I am pushing hard, but the team are favouring him at the present over myself. I believer if I keep doing the job I am doing then it won't be long before you see me racing it."
2005/06 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport champion France will be eager to secure its first victory of the 2006/07 season. The team dominated the first year of competition, with 13 wins in 22 races, however have yet to be onto the top step of the podium this year. "Last year I had a very exciting race," added Lapierre, "We won the first one and we were second on the grid and I think the car is pretty good here. We just have to work again as it looks like it will be faster than last year and every track we go to we have to work a little bit harder than last year because everybody is a bit faster so tomorrow morning we will work hard and see how qualifying goes."
France and Britain however face strong competition from Australia's Ryan Briscoe and South African Alan van der Merwe who were just two tenths shy of Kerr in the second session. Jarek Janis, scheduled to race for the first time for A1 Team Czech Republic this weekend, also showed strongly in both practices, setting the third fastest time in the first hour and the fifth in the second.
A1 Team Indonesia started their campaign for a strong result at home with 8th position in the first session and 13th in the second. "I think this track is really easy for everybody to learn so I think it is going to be really close as today we have the top 15 under one second. I think with the new tyre we still need to do work a bit but on old tyres our car was quite competitive." He admitted the challenge would be hard, "However, Nicolas is very quick and to it will be really, really difficult to get close. Hopefully tomorrow will be dry again. I think for tomorrow the pole could be something like a high 1min 16secs. In Malaysia we were five seconds quicker than last year. Here for qualifying it could be one second quicker, but I don't think we can make five."
With weather conditions for tomorrow scheduled to remain hot and humid with a strong possibility of storms and heavy rain, the information gathered from today's practice sessions will be vital as teams may be forced to make quick set-up changes. After a further free practice session, Qualifying for the Sprint race will take place between 14.15 and 15.30.