Taupo: Friday practice report

A1 Team Czech Republic set fastest time for Taupo practice Taupo - A1 Team Czech Republic snatched the top spot on the timing sheet in the closing minutes of this afternoon's second practice session for the A1GP Taupo, New Zealand, setting the...

A1 Team Czech Republic set fastest time for Taupo practice

Taupo - A1 Team Czech Republic snatched the top spot on the timing sheet in the closing minutes of this afternoon's second practice session for the A1GP Taupo, New Zealand, setting the fastest time of the day, despite driver Tomas Enge stepping in at the last minute for injured team mate, Jarek Janis.

'I should be in Daytona, preparing for the 24 hour race next weekend but Janis is injured so I got a late call to come to New Zealand but I'm very happy to step in. I love the country, I've never been in such a nice place before, said Czech driver Tomas Enge. Commenting on the track conditions, Enge continued: 'I didn't expect the track to be so dirty and you really had to push the car round the corners but I hope I can continue like this for the weekend. I will be concentrating on myself, not looking at the others.'

Knocking A1 Team India off the top spot, a position that new driver Narain Karthikeyan had held on to for nearly half the session, the Czech Republic demonstrated just how close this weekend's race is likely to be. Having only joined the team last week, the morning practice session was Karthikeyan's first time in an A1GP car and marked a significant improvement in India's performance. Commenting on the gains made, Karthikeyan said: 'It's a big big difference and I'm happy with the way things are going. I'm not getting carried away by today, there is still lots to be done on the car. The team have had some less experienced drivers so we need a lot of work to be done on the car set up wise'.

A1 Team France set the fastest lap time in this morning's rookie session with Loic Duval behind the wheel. Commenting on the Taupo circuit which has undergone extensive improvements to host the A1GP event, Duval said: 'It's a nice track but difficult on the line as it gets really dirty outside. The track looks very good and the whole complex is very nice. The corners are difficult, the shorter lines are a problem during the race, its tough to overtake and quite dirty so I'm expecting a tough race.'

Host nation A1 Team New Zealand also seemed to have a tough start to the day, setting the eight fastest times in both sessions. But having won the last race in Sentul, Indonesia, expectations are high for New Zealand to be the first team in A1GP to win a home race. 'Winning at Sentul doesn't add any pressure but I can use the home fans and use that energy to help me', commented driver Jonny Reid. 'I'm not disillutioned by the results, it's quite pleasing as we have a few tricks up our sleeves. The track is really dirty off line and it's a really technical circuit so I'll be relying on the team and mechanics a lot.'

After a further free practice session at 11.00 in the morning, Qualifying for the Sprint race will take place with four 15 minute sessions between 14.15 and 15.30.

-credit: a1gp

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series A1GP
Drivers Tomas Enge , Narain Karthikeyan , Loic Duval , Jonny Reid , Jarek Janis