Mixed fortunes in qualifying
Zhuhai's qualifying proved to be one of the closest in the A1GP history and the Czech team ended with quite different results for tomorrow's races. Tomas Enge qualified Czech to promising third row for the Sprint race grid but had to accept only 8th row for the Feature race.
Saturday's practice was used to further tuning of the setup to the bumpy and tight Chinese track. The focus was on the race setup and Enge did 25 laps. His best was 1:25.437 and the Czech team finished 15th.
All important qualifying started positive for the Czech team after decision to use new tyres for both flyers. The second run was decisive for the Sprint race grid and Enge was at his best. He managed to wrestle the car around bumpy track under 1:24 and secured 6th position on the grid. Two sessions showed that every thousandth is vital as no less than 13 cars were covered within one second.
Both Feature race qualifying sessions continued in the unbelievably close fashion. Unfortunately, the Czech team this time was not able to repeat or improve the previous effort. The team used scrubbed tyres for the first run and new ones for the second. Enge's best 1:24,350 was set in the second run that means only 16th position on the grid. This time incredible 18 cars were within one second!
Tomas Enge: "It would be nice to get to the top 10 on both grids but if I had to choose one good and one not that good qualifying I would go for better position on the Sprint grid. The Sprint is short and it is not easy to move forward while in the Feature race you can do a lot with strategy and pitstops. We ran only on old tyres in the practice today and the car improved a lot on new tyres in the qualifying where we played a bit with the front wing. I must say that my second run was perfect and I was really happy with 6th. We had just one new set for the last two runs and I knew that the last lap would be all or nothing. I was overmotivated after previous good run and pushed too hard. The lap was not so good. I am not as consistent yet as I would like to be after 10 months out of the A1GP car. The key to success in the races will be a clean first corner that is quite narrow. I hope to get without troubles there but anything could happen to anyone there."
Antonin Charouz, Seat holder: "The qualifying in general was good for us. Tomas did a very good job because it was not easy for him to return to a single-seater car after nearly a year."