India Sets Pace For 2007/08 Season
A1 Team India dominated this morning's final test session at Silverstone in preparation for the new A1GP World Cup of Motorsport season, topping the time sheets early on and dominating for the remainder of the three and half hour session.
India's Narain Kathikeyan, who had limited track time at the last official test due to illness, clocked a sensational time of 47.809s and broke the lap record for an A1GP car around the National circuit by three tenths of a second. The previous record was held by A1 Team New Zealand driver Jonny Reid, who set the time on the first day of the test.
Kathikeyan's lap time puts him fastest overall at the end of the one and half day test session and the Indian driver is feeling confident as the team prepares to challenge for its first A1GP race win at Zandvoort next weekend: 'We did the majority of our work yesterday and a little bit this morning - we kept improving the car a lot and I think we're going in the right direction. I'm looking forward to the season-opener at Zandvoort - I believe we have a decent car and a good package and we will be front runners that's for sure.'
Jonny Reid, who set the fastest lap on the first day of the test for A1 Team New Zealand, was once again on strong form on day two. Reid set a best lap of 47.901s and was pleased with the team's progress ahead of the start of the new season: 'It was good. It was better than yesterday because the track was faster today with the wind and the temperature but it was also a rather challenging session. On my new tyre run there was a car spun but I was on my first flying lap and I didn't actually get to complete a second. It's such a short lap here so the tyres don't really come back quick enough - I think we definitely had it all there to go P1 but a bit of luck didn't fall our way. We're happy with this though and it gives us quiet confidence heading into Zandvoort.'
Hot on the heels of Reid was A1 Team Switzerland's Neel Jani, who finished the session third fastest with a best lap of 47.932s and covered an impressive 89 laps. Jani, who might be welcoming a female rookie to the Swiss team this season, is looking forward to the first race: 'Today was the first time I really worked with my new engineer and we progressed well and tried a lot of things and in the end we got a decent lap time. We have done some very good preparation for Zandvoort which was our main target for this test so I think we're in pretty good shape and I'm looking forward to it.'
The test session was incredibly close with just over a second separating India in the top spot and Mexico in 22nd.
All 22 teams will now head straight to The Netherlands for the thrilling A1GP season-opener at Zandvoort on 28-30 September.