Taupo: Team New Zealand Friday notes

BLACK BEAUTY OFF TO GOOD START At the wheel of New Zealand's Black Beauty today, Chris van der Drift proved he was well up to speed in A1GP, ending the day sixth fastest and happy with the team's performance. For much of the session New ...

BLACK BEAUTY OFF TO GOOD START

At the wheel of New Zealand's Black Beauty today, Chris van der Drift proved he was well up to speed in A1GP, ending the day sixth fastest and happy with the team's performance.

For much of the session New Zealand was in the top three, but late charges from Australia and Monaco bumped the Kiwis off the 'practice podium'.

Importantly however, for the teams ahead of New Zealand on the points score-board, only championship leaders Ireland were faster in today's main practice session.

Switzerland's Neel Jani topped the time charts with a lap of 1.15.971, almost 0.6 seconds faster than the best lap recorded for New Zealand. As can be expected in such a competitive field, the top thirteen nations in practice at Taupo all recorded times within one second of each other.

New Zealand's dedicated crew of Engineers and Mechanics will prepare Black Beauty for Saturday's final Practice session and the all important Qualifying session overnight. Meanwhile driver Chris van der Drift will rest easy and head into Saturday with confidence that he knows what is required to find the remaining few tenths of a second to be at the head of the field.

While Round Three of this A1GP season in November last year seems an distant memory for most, the off track development and analysis by the team's engineering staff since the last round is paying off. Both driver and team report the handling and chassis setup of Black Beauty as much improved.

A significant change for Saturday's four qualifying sessions is the removal of the single lap of PowerBoost that was available at Sepang, Malaysia for the last round of the A1GP World Cup of MotorSport. At Sepang, drivers were able to choose one of their four qualifying sessions to use the PowerBoost system, which increases the engine power by approximately fifty horsepower.

The introduction of this rule was widely debated by teams along the pitlane, but made the grid positions something of a gamble, depending on which other teams used the PowerBoost in which session.

By removing the ability for teams to use PowerBoost on one lap of their four qualifying laps, the grid positions for both the Sprint and Feature races should much better represent the true performance of the nations competing.

Ticket sales for the third running of A1GP in Taupo have proven to be incredibly strong, with just over 1000 grandstand tickets remaining for sale. That means Black Beauty fans need to get in quick to secure their chance to see the new Powered by Ferrari cars race around Taupo for the first time.

Should all the grandstand tickets sell out, there are still plenty of General Admission tickets available for sale for the grass embankments, and with the sun predicted to shine on Taupo over the next few days, race fans are in for a great show. Tickets for the grass embankment are available for just $45 for Sunday admission from the track gates or Ticketek.

Chris van der Drift, Driver

"We had a really productive day with some good adjustments to the car."

"I know there's more to come from me tomorrow so we'll continue to work at it in Practice Three to make sure we're in the best shape for Qualifying"

John Sears, Team Manager

"Chris has improved -- he was new to the track so he's finding more speed all the time on the track."

"We're confident tomorrow we'll be right up the sharp end"

"For Practice Three we'll continue to develop the car. Hopefully we'll find a little more performance from the car under brakes"

"For us the Qualifying format should be better. It's a more fair representation of performance. It's not so much of a lottery."

-credit: new zealand

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About this article
Series A1GP
Drivers Neel Jani , Chris van der Drift