UPSIDE DOWN QUALIFYING IN SEPANG Qualifying for Round Three of the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport threw out some exciting results, as placings for many teams were turned upside down from the Sprint Race Qualifying to the Feature Race ...
UPSIDE DOWN QUALIFYING IN SEPANG
Qualifying for Round Three of the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport threw out some exciting results, as placings for many teams were turned upside down from the Sprint Race Qualifying to the Feature Race positions.
A1 Team New Zealand got off to a strong third place in the Sprint Race Qualifying, but as was the case for many nations, tumbled back through the order in the Feature Race Qualifying session.
The single greatest reason for the change to the expected order was the use of the Power-Boost system. Drivers had the chance for a full lap with the Power-Boost active, but only in one of the four Qualifying sessions.
New Zealand's driver Earl Bamber took advantage of the extra power generated by Black Beauty on his lap in the second Qualifying session. The best time from the first or second session determines the Sprint Race grid. Lining up ahead of Bamber will be the Swiss and French cars.
The times set by the top three teams including New Zealand were in a league of their own, proving the Kiwi car has serious pace. Switzerland stopped the clock with a time of 1.47.154, more than 1.7 seconds ahead of the fourth placed car. A1 Team New Zealand was just over half a second off the time of the Swiss car with a 1.47.779.
Current A1GP championship leaders and weekend host nation Team Malaysia only start the Sprint Race from thirteenth position. Such a result from the championship leaders at their home race is a further sign that some teams' lap times were upside down in one of the two qualifying segments.
With New Zealand's strategy to use the Power-Boost for the Sprint Race Qualifying session, it was always going to be an uphill battle come the second two ten minute Qualifying sessions. There were high hopes as New Zealand finished on the cusp of the top-ten with eleventh place during Qualifying Three, but by the fall of the chequered flag at the end of Qualifying Four, New Zealand had been bumped back to fifteenth place for the Feature Race starting grid.
Pole sitter in the Sprint Race Team Switzerland fared even worse than New Zealand, and will line up along side Black Beauty, starting from grid sixteen. Team Ireland hold joint second place in the championship following two rounds of racing action, and will start from the Pole Position in the Feature Race.
France, who share second place in the Championship with the Irish team aren't much further up the grid from New Zealand, starting just inside the top ten from ninth place.
With so many strong teams out their expected running order, A1GP racing at Sepang will no doubt produce some stunning action on track.
The lights turn green for the Sprint Race at 4pm New Zealand time, while the Feature Race gets underway at 8pm for home based fans of Black Beauty. Live Video Streaming and Timing is available at www.A1GP.com, plus TV3 will show coverage of both races from 11.55pm on Sunday evening.
Earl Bamber, Driver
"Our old tyre pace is really good, which is reassuring for the two races"
"The lap with the Power-Boost wasn't much different from a normal lap. All the braking points from a normal lap were still the same"
Colin Giltrap, A1 Team New Zealand Seat Holder
"Our strategy to run the Power-Boost in the Sprint Race is the right decision in my mind. There's less laps to make up lost ground in the short race."
John Sears, Team Manager
"Along with France and Switzerland, we ran a different strategy from many of the other teams for when we used the Power-Boost"
"From our Practice times, we know we can run a quick race pace"