Sentul: Friday practice report

Sentul - A tropical downpour which began just as the pit lane opened for today's first official practice session left a slippery wet track for A1 Grand Prix's first outing at the Sentul circuit, Indonesia. The rain continued to fall into the ...

Sentul - A tropical downpour which began just as the pit lane opened for today's first official practice session left a slippery wet track for A1 Grand Prix's first outing at the Sentul circuit, Indonesia. The rain continued to fall into the afternoon but as the sun broke through mid-way into the second session, conditions improved and the A1 teams picked up speed.

Relative newcomer to the Series, A1 Team Italy's Max Busnelli who drove for the first time at the last round brought out the first red flag spinning off and damaging the car. Red flags caused by Austria, Brazil and the Czech Republic and China followed with Lebanon and Portugal joining the list from the second session.

Home racer Ananada Mikola showed that circuit experience pays leading the second session for some time but it was A1 Team Malaysia's Alex Yoong who put in the day's fastest lap time of 1.27.557. 'We did a good job today, but it is more important to be quick tomorrow. We were struggling with set up at first, but we found a couple of things that really helped us. And I have raced here a long time ago which helps.'

Commenting on tyre wear at the track, Alex admitted 'I am a little worried, the track is very abrasive. Tyre wear will be high if the track is dry, but I have heard that it will be wet over the weekend.'

Marcus Marshall made an impressive debut with A1 Team Australia, finishing the day second fastest. Marcus said he was impressed with what he had seen of A1GP so far, 'It's been fantastic, I love the concept, every car being equal means tough racing. No-one has an advantage, and everyone starts even.'

Winner of the last A1 Grand Prix of Nations, Jos Verstappen, is hoping for a repeat performance this weekend. 'I'm very pleased with how it went today, it took around five or six laps to find the limit. The response at home was very positive after the win in South Africa, there was good press and TV footage which always helps a team.'

However, the focus of local attention remains on Ananda Mikola, the Asian Formula Three Champions, who is the driver for A1 Team Indonesia. 'There isn't too much pressure at my home race, it is my own pride that is at stake. I just want to get a good result. I think we are looking good for the race, as long as no-one hits me from the back! This is a great race for Indonesia, there are some good drivers here, some from F1 such as Ralph, Jos and Alex. We show great racing, and crashes on TV all over the world, I think it will be a great race this weekend.'

-a1gp-

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About this article
Series A1GP
Drivers Jos Verstappen , Ananda Mikola , Alex Yoong , Marcus Marshall