A1 Team Great Britain has put in the best qualifying performance of a home nation, taking pole position for tomorrow's Sprint race at the RAB Capital A1GP Brands Hatch, Great Britain. Driver Robbie Kerr recorded an aggregate time of 2.28.899, just...
A1 Team Great Britain has put in the best qualifying performance of a home nation, taking pole position for tomorrow's Sprint race at the RAB Capital A1GP Brands Hatch, Great Britain. Driver Robbie Kerr recorded an aggregate time of 2.28.899, just one tenth of a second faster than second placed Germany, making it the first team in the history of A1GP to take pole position at its home race.
Commenting on his performance, which saw him grab pole despite a heart stopping off-track moment, Kerr said: 'It's a third of the job done today and we have just got to focus now on getting the car ready for the two long races. We now have a good car beneath us. It is looking after the tyres very well. We are looking forward to it and now we can be competitive here. I am just looking forward to the race - I just can't wait."
Track time in the first segment was limited after USA crashed on the exit from Hawthorne and brought out the red flag just minutes into the segment when only Pakistan had put in its flying lap. The segment was halted while the 'We the People' car was recovered and the rest of the field lined up to leave the pit lane. As the chequered flag dropped, A1 Team India was on provisional pole but as Great Britain, France and then Germany crossed the finish line from their flying laps, India dropped down to fourth.
A1 Team Italy came from nowhere to record the fastest lap of the second segment, completing the circuit in just 1.14.710. Despite its impressive lap, Italy was pushed down the provisional grid with France and Great Britain both putting in marginally slower lap times but still enough to create an aggregate time from the first two segments faster than that of Italy. A1 Team Germany pulled into the pits after running over the kerb on its flying lap and choosing not to continue.
Italy put itself back on provisional pole at the start of the third segment but once again, despite holding the spot for most of the segment, was knocked off in the closing seconds. France once again left the pit lane in the last minutes of the segment regaining the top spot until an undeterred home team recorded the fastest lap of the weekend so far (1.14.381), snatching provisional pole from last season's champions.
It all came down to the closing seconds of the fourth segment for pole to be decided with France, Great Britain, Italy and Germany all in with a chance. Italy was soon displaced from provisional pole by France and when Great Britain left the track on its out lap gathering dirt on its tyres it looked like the home team had missed its opportunity. As Germany crossed the finish line with the second fastest lap of qualifying, it snatched pole from France but just seconds later, Great Britain followed having recovered from its earlier hiccup to claim the first pole of a home nation in A1GP's 42-race history.
Kerr's comment about his off-track moment was: 'I just thought I would try something new to get the tyres warm! It was a heart stopping moment but we pulled it all back together. Got the tyres cleaned off as best we could for the start of the lap, and then just went out there and put a good solid lap together. I just wish I hadn't done it and then I think the lap time would have been a lot quicker without that moment. Anyway it was a good solid lap at the end of qualifying and we are on pole.'
The 2006/07 season champions, Germany, will sit alongside Great Britain on the Sprint race grid tomorrow. Driver, Nico Hülkenberg said: 'The car was all right, it was just I was a bit too optimistic and too early on the power. I went on the kerb and the kerb pulls you out, so that was a mistake.
'I knew I had to score two very good lap times and that always the two last qualifying runs would be the quickest. I have a good car with new rubber so decided let's go and do a good lap time. I did two solid quick lap times, but just not quick enough for pole position.'
A1 Team France saw the return of Loic Duval after a four race absence but despite this, combined with the fact he has never been to the Brands Hatch circuit before, Duval put France third on the grid. 'It is not an easy track to learn, but unfortunately I think the car was not perfect today,' he said. 'We had quite a big oversteer and didn't find the problem. At the end I knew it was important to push on the last qualifying lap. I was pushing, but maybe too much and had big oversteer. Anyway I did my best with the car, we have to find some set up tomorrow for the race, but it is not that bad.'
A1 Team Ireland improved on its earlier practice performances recording an aggregate time of 2.30.751 putting it on the sixth row of the grid. The team was obviously spurred on by MTV's Pimp My Ride presenter Xzibit who came to the track at lunchtime to meet the team before he takes part in tomorrow's Gumball 3000 event alongside A1 Team Ireland who will join the start of the rally leaving London's Pall Mall at 16.00.
Tomorrow's Sprint race at Brands Hatch, Kent will start at 11.00 local time and will determine the grid positions for the afternoon's 70-minute Feature race.
Credit: team great britain