Brands Hatch, 1 May 2009: The concluding round of the 2008/9 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport 'Powered by Ferrari' is being held at the iconic Brands Hatch circuit this weekend following the announcement that the Mexican race, due to take place on 24...
Brands Hatch, 1 May 2009: The concluding round of the 2008/9 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport 'Powered by Ferrari' is being held at the iconic Brands Hatch circuit this weekend following the announcement that the Mexican race, due to take place on 24 May, has been cancelled. The season finale is therefore once again taking place at the Kent circuit which played host to the eagerly anticipated inaugural A1GP event back in September 2005.
Team Monaco commenced its final weekend campaign with co-seat holder Hubertus Bahlsen taking to the track for the first of the usual "Rookie" free practice sessions. Hubertus, one of only 11 "Rookie" drivers participating in these sessions today, emerged from the pits with twenty minutes of running remaining. He made steady improvement lap after lap, clocking five personal best times consecutively and setting a fastest lap time of 1:19.187. After six laps, however, a spin at the exit of Druids Hairpin ended the team's running until Official Practice 2 later in the afternoon.
For the team's final Friday practice session of the 2008/9 season, main driver Clivio Piccione took over Monaco's driving duties. Fifteen minutes into the hour-long session Clivio joined the field and as the session progressed and the times toppled, he was running in 11th position with a time of 1:14.944. A Red Flag was deployed midway through running due to a stop out on track by Mexico. When the session restarted Team Monaco's planned practice programme meant that Clivio would only have a few laps in which to set a decent time. He was able to clock a superb fastest lap time of 1:13.398 on his final outing to steal fourth position in the closing moments of the session.
Hubertus Bahlsen, Seat holder: "The car immediately felt good this morning and on this unique track, where I have no experience, I was very careful on the difficult, high speed corners. Unfortunately, I made a mistake which ended our first practice session, but the mechanics did a fantastic job to prepare the car for Clivio in the afternoon. In the second session the car was well balanced and Clivio did a great job on a good Team Monaco strategy."
Clivio Piccione, Driver and Seat holder: "First of all I must say 'well done and thank you' to our mechanics for their full commitment in getting the Monaco car ready for this afternoon with a very quick engine change. In the session we first completed a few laps to run the engine in. It was great to be back on this track after five years. It brought back a lot of memories and it is still as tricky as I remember! The A1GP car is one of the quickest to race at Brands, so there is no room to relax. You are always working hard, concentrating, even on the straights, as it is such a difficult grand prix circuit. The car was feeling pretty good; we made a couple of changes and planned to run only a few laps so that we could keep the tyres as fresh as possible for tomorrow. The last lap was good and I am happy that we jumped to P4 at the end of the session."
Graham Taylor, Team Principal: "Following a difficult start to the weekend the afternoon session gives Team Monaco some well needed cheer. The crew has done a great job to prepare, and then repair, the car and Clivio has repaid them with an encouraging time in the second session."