Step by step A1 Team France covered only 13 laps in free practice today, but what could be seen as a disappointing sixth place is, in fact, rather good news. As Nicolas Prost isn't in China this weekend, the team was only able to go out in the...
Step by step
A1 Team France covered only 13 laps in free practice today, but what could be seen as a disappointing sixth place is, in fact, rather good news. As Nicolas Prost isn't in China this weekend, the team was only able to go out in the practice session dedicated to the nominated drivers. On a circuit that nobody knew, losing twice 30 minutes was a disadvantage, but A1 Team France used its know-how to establish a precise technical programme to reduce the impact of limited running.
First of all, Loic Duval bedded in his brake pads and made sure that the on-board systems on his car were working properly, after which he went for a time. Despite a set-up that was not yet quite right and a heavy fuel load, his times were very promising. Unfortunately, he went off after modifying his set-up and was unable to rejoin.
He covered only 13 laps and finished sixth overall 1/10s off third place. In fact, the gap separating A1 Team France from the quickest team, Ireland, is not very worrying. Today's performance has been a very encouraging one, and it does not call into question the weekend's main aim: a podium finish and preferably on the topmost step!
Olivier Panis, sporting director: "We'd have liked to have covered more laps today to fine- tune our preparation for the fourth round of the season. It wasn't possible but I reckon the consequences aren't too serious. In fact, we got to know the track quickly and the engineers have a better idea of the set-up. Our performance leaves plenty of room for optimism. Loic has never raced here before and he learned the circuit very quickly. His speed in these conditions is very encouraging."
Loic Duval: "It's been a rather frustrating day overall as we didn't do a lot of running. Nonetheless, the information that we managed to gather and our performance indicate that we've got every reason to be optimistic. Despite the fact that I had a very heavy fuel load and standard set-up on a track that I didn't know, I finished sixth after only a few laps. What's more, our closest rivals Switzerland, New Zealand and Great Britain are behind us, so our morale is pretty good!"