Taupo: Series qualifying report

New Zealand and France on Pole at Taupo New Zealand -- Home nation A1 Team New Zealand qualified in pole position for tomorrow morning's Sprint race at Taupo while France took the Feature race pole. It was an unusual qualifying hour as the ...

New Zealand and France on Pole at Taupo

New Zealand -- Home nation A1 Team New Zealand qualified in pole position for tomorrow morning's Sprint race at Taupo while France took the Feature race pole. It was an unusual qualifying hour as the majority of teams waited as late as possible to take to the windy, dusty track during each of the four 15-minute qualifying segments.

Sprint race qualifying

The crowds roared as New Zealand's Jonny Reid set the fastest lap in the closing minutes of the second 15-minute qualifying segment to snatch pole position for tomorrow morning's Sprint race.

South Africa's Adrian Zaugg will line up alongside the home nation hero on the front row, after an incredible last lap charge during Q2 moved him up to second place. France's Loic Duval, who has been the man to beat all weekend, will start the race from third position on the second row while Germany's Christian Vietoris qualified fourth.

The Netherlands' Jeroen Bleekemolen and USA's Jonathan Summerton will line up on the third row of the grid in fifth and sixth place respectively.

Feature race qualifying

The teams continued to play a waiting game due to the dusty conditions, finally taking to the track with just over two minutes of the final qualifying segment remaining. France's Loic Duval put in a sensational performance to secure pole for the Feature race ahead of Germany's Christian Vietoris who will line up alongside him on the front row.

Current championship leader Switzerland's Neel Jani qualified in third position, closely followed by Canada's Robert Wickens who will start from fourth on the grid. Home nation New Zealand's Jonny Reid took the fifth spot while Portugal's Joao Urbano recorded an incredible lap around the 3.5km circuit to secure sixth position ahead of South Africa.

New Zealand's Jonny Reid is delighted to be starting tomorrow's Sprint race from pole position and is aiming for a win in front of his home crowd:

'It was a fantastic feeling to see everyone on their feet in the grandstands as I came across the line. I had no radio communication during the session but I could see the crowd were pretty excited and I was hoping it was at least the front row. It was a very clean lap in Q2 and not many mistakes which is pleasing. We slipped up a bit for the Feature race qualifying but we'll be there when it comes to the racing tomorrow. I have the home support and I really want this one.'

Season one champion France's Loic Duval has been on superb form all weekend and has high hopes for tomorrow's Feature race, which he is starting from pole:

'The first part of qualifying was ok because I was first in the first segment, but the set up of the car wasn't really as good as this morning. It was quite difficult to find a good set up which is why I just took pole for the Feature race. The average of today is not too bad though -- first and third -- and at the end of the weekend the most important thing is the number of points we can score.'

Germany's Christian Vietoris, who will start the Sprint race from fourth and the Feature race from second on the grid, commented on the dirty, dusty track conditions:

'It is a big problem because you don't know what to expect at the next corner. Today it was ok but yesterday it was a lot worse and nearly everybody went off the track at some point.'

Tomorrow's Sprint race at Taupo, New Zealand will start at 11.00 local time and the 70-minute Feature race will start at 15.00.

-credit: a1gp.com

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About this article
Series A1GP
Drivers Jeroen Bleekemolen , Neel Jani , Robert Wickens , Adrian Zaugg , Loic Duval , Joao Urbano , Christian Vietoris , Jonny Reid , Jonathan Summerton