Best qualifying result for A1 Team Japan and Hayanari Shimoda Hayanari Shimoda knew that the weather could be key for the four qualifying sessions. Each day tropical rain had hid the circuit in the middle of the day in the run up to qualifying.
Best qualifying result for A1 Team Japan and Hayanari Shimoda
Hayanari Shimoda knew that the weather could be key for the four qualifying sessions. Each day tropical rain had hid the circuit in the middle of the day in the run up to qualifying. The rain arrived but passed before the session so dry tyres were fine for the drying track. Fortunately morning practice had been dry giving the team time to work on dry set-up and Hayanari managed to set a fastest time of 1'19.389, just 0.862 seconds behind the fastest car of A1 Team France. He was optimistic and hoping to qualify sixth or seventh.
In the first qualifying session Hyanari was on old tyres and was checking the car after changes made since morning practice. Satisfied he put on new tyres and got onto the track early in session two anticipating rain as thunder could be heard. It proved to be a false alarm and with a dry track he set a time of 1'17.671 putting him 14th in the standings with two sessions remaining to improve. In his third session on his other set of new tyres Hyanari shaved another 0.15 seconds from his lap time moving him up to fifth. Rain returned for the last session so the team decided to preserve tyres given that an improvement in time wouldn't be possible. Having hoped for a sixth or seventh position, Hyanari was deservedly delighted with his fifth.
"I'd had some under-steer in the morning so we made a set-up change and the first run was to check the balance. It was fine and on the new tyres for run two I immediately felt good grip. I made one small mistake but the car felt good and I had good balance. We didn't change anything for the third run except to put on the other new set of tyres. On my hot lap going to the first corner a car came out of the pit lane so I had to brake late to be able to overtake him into the corner. I lost maybe a tenth of a second which was a shame. After that the lap felt great. It was a good lap.
"For the races tomorrow I'd like to be able to keep position in the Sprint race so I start the Feature race on the third row. I'm not good at the standing starts that we have in the Feature race so I want to practice that tomorrow. If that's OK then a top six finish would be good and maybe even a podium finish."