Free Practice: A rostrum in the Antipodes? Today, A1 Team France began practice on the Taupo circuit in New Zealand for the fourth round of the 2008-09 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport. Nicolas Prost kicked off the team's technical program on a...
Free Practice: A rostrum in the Antipodes?
Today, A1 Team France began practice on the Taupo circuit in New Zealand for the fourth round of the 2008-09 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport. Nicolas Prost kicked off the team's technical program on a twisty and very dirty track and began refining the car's set-up. He set the sixth-quickest time in the first part of the session after a minor gearbox sensor problem, and in the second part the A1 Team France test driver finished the morning with the second-best time. As always his input was very precious for the engineers.
Loic Duval then got in the car and took over for the afternoon's free practice. He had to wait for 20 minutes before going out as the team had to repair the sensor that had caused problems in the morning. The mechanics, who were obliged to open the gearbox on several occasions, did a great job in terms of both precision and speed. Loic, who has finished on the rostrum 4 times in his 4 outings on the Taupo circuit, ran into problems in the braking zones and went off on several occasions. After studying the data it seemed that the braking system was not working properly. The team, which finished the afternoon in ninth place, is currently working on the solution.
Olivier Panis, sporting director: "Overall, we're satisfied with our day even if the technical problems we ran into upset our programme slightly. Nicolas did a couple of perfect sessions allowing our engineers to make the first set-up choices. Loic didn't have a very relaxed practice! He had to go out late and then he had to cope with an ill-handling car. We tried to modify a few parameters to improve its overall balance, but it looks like the brakes are at the root of the problem. It should be fixed for tomorrow."
Loic Duval, driver: "I'm not used to going off and the two or three frights I gave myself today, show that something's not right in the car's balance. It gets away from me under braking. This problem didn't allow me to go for out-and-out performance but it's not a big handicap. I know Taupo like the back of my hand and I'll be back up among the front-runners tomorrow!"
Nicolas Prost: "I'm satisfied with my contribution to the team's technical programme. The track was pretty dirty this morning with a lot of dust. That led to a lot of yellow flags and interruptions but I got through without too many problems. As we expected, the car's much happier in the quick sections than in the twisty ones. We have to do a bit more work to make it more reactive in the tight corners."