Taupo: Team France Saturday notes

A1 Team France on pole position After dominating practice on Friday and Saturday on the Taupo circuit in New Zealand, A1 Team France will start from pole for the Feature race and third for the Sprint event. A few minutes before qualifying, ...

A1 Team France on pole position

After dominating practice on Friday and Saturday on the Taupo circuit in New Zealand, A1 Team France will start from pole for the Feature race and third for the Sprint event. A few minutes before qualifying, a strong wind blew a lot of sand onto the track, completely modifying the grip. This unforeseen situation led to four unusual sessions, as the majority of teams waited until the very last moment to go out.

At the start of practice the balance of the A1 Team France car was not optimal and Loic Duval could do no better than third. The team reacted instantaneously. A new set-up and a revised strategy enabled Loic to get back on the pace. The result was the fastest time in the last 2 sessions that gave him pole for the Feature race.

Two podium finishes look on the cards for the team, which will try not to make any mistakes during the rest of the weekend and fulfil its mission: namely, to close the gap to the championship leader.

Olivier Panis, Sporting Director: "The sandstorm that hit the circuit just before qualifying really put the cat among the pigeons, and all the teams that had been competitive in free practice paid the price for this unexpected turn of events. We managed to limit the damage and set the third-quickest time for the Sprint Race. Loic bagged pole for the Feature Race after we revised the set-up and sent him out earlier in the final practice session on a cleaner track. Congratulations to the whole team, which reacted perfectly to the changing conditions. Tomorrow's aim is a couple of podium finishes, and also to close the gap to the championship leader."

Loic Duval: "It's been a good day for A1 Team France. We showed our speed in the morning's free sessions, and we felt pretty optimistic about qualifying. Unfortunately, the wind and the sand upset our programme. It's a bit annoying, as in normal conditions we'd have bagged pole for both races. Today's results, though, are good and we can tackle tomorrow's two races with a fair chance of scoring a harvest of points. Switzerland, the championship leader, will start behind us twice. This should enable us to close the gap."

-credit: france/turn-one.ch

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Series A1GP
Drivers Olivier Panis , Loic Duval