Zandvoort: Team France qualifying report

Zandvoort qualifying: first fruits A1 Team France took part in qualifying for the first round of the 2008-09 A1GP Championship today on the Zandvoort circuit. The team achieved a real feat by enabling Loic Duval to take to the track as they had...

Zandvoort qualifying: first fruits

A1 Team France took part in qualifying for the first round of the 2008-09 A1GP Championship today on the Zandvoort circuit. The team achieved a real feat by enabling Loic Duval to take to the track as they had never seen the new Ferrari-designed car before. It arrived this morning at 09h30 and the mechanics started work on it straight away. It missed the 2 free practice sessions but halfway through the day the engine roared into life for the first time, and 10 minutes after the start of qualifying Loic Duval went out to everybody's applause. A1 Team France's season had officially started.

The Frenchman's first task was to carry out the crucial technical checks after which he was able to start going for a time. He ran into a few minor hydraulic and braking problems that hindered his progress. Although he only managed 6 laps he still set the eleventh-quickest time overall.

Taking into account the fact that the car had never turned a wheel before tod ay, A1 Team France is satisfied with its performance and would like to congratulate the mechanics on their exceptional work. Tomorrow's aim will be to unlock the car's secrets and rack up the kilometres, and if race incidents permit, score a few points.

Olivier Panis, sporting director : " We knew that our weekend would be difficult as our car was only arriving at the circuit this morning, and we had to finish putting it together in the garage. We took up the challenge. The A1 Team France car was the first of the ones delivered today to take to the track. A shudder of emotion ran through the whole team when the engine was started for the first time not long after midday. Bravo to all those who made it possible and now let's get stuck into the championship !"

Loic Duval, driver : " It was very tricky starting with a new car in qualifying, but I had absolute confidence in the mechanics' work. I'd never driven a single-seater with carbon brakes b efore, and I wasn't used to left-foot braking, but I found my marks very quickly. Without a small mistake in the last corner I think we'd have been in the top five, which is very promising for the rest of the season. Tomorrow's aim will be to finish both races as it's important to rack up the kilometres and to really get to know the car. If we can score some points, it'll be a nice bonus!"

-credit: france

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Series A1GP
Drivers Olivier Panis , Loic Duval