Chengdu: Alexandre Imperatori Sunday notes

GOOD START TO A1GP FOR IMPERATORI Alexandre has shown speed on his first outing in the new A1GP car, powered by Ferrari at Chengdu for round 2 of the 2008/2009 season. The chinese city of Chengdu in Sichuan province held the second round of...

GOOD START TO A1GP FOR IMPERATORI

Alexandre has shown speed on his first outing in the new A1GP car, powered by Ferrari at Chengdu for round 2 of the 2008/2009 season.

The chinese city of Chengdu in Sichuan province held the second round of the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport. It was the first visit of A1GP to this part of China that was severely hit by an earthquake earlier this year. It also marked the return of the traditional rookie sessions in which Alexandre Imperatori has the privilege to represent Switzerland.

It was again a very new environment for the young swiss: during the summer break, the A1GP organizers introduced a totally new car, designed by world famous manufacturer Ferrari and based on their F2004 F1 design. The new car features a 600HP engine, carbon brakes and high level of aerodynamics among others. In addition, Alexandre had to learn the tricky Chengdu circuit has he had never raced there before.

In the build up to the race weekend, the two swiss drivers (Alexandre Imperatori and Neel Jani) were invited to take part in a soccer match between A1GP drivers and the Chengdu Blades FC. The club is owned by british club Sheffield FC and evolves in the Chinese Premier League. After a good and friendly fight, the scored ended on a tie 5 to 5, meaning the issue would be decided by penalty kicks. Alexandre scored the 4th penalty but it was not enough as the professional players won 4-2.

On friday, racing resumed as the first practice session for rookies kicked off at 10:45am. Prior to that though, Great Britain and India had been allowed 1 hour track time for not having much pre-season practice and their number 1 drivers (Danny Watts and Narain Kartikeyan) would also exceptionally be allowed to run the rookie session.

In the first 25 minutes session, Imperatori had to familiarize himself with the new car, the new circuit and learn carbon brakes but performed the task in nice fashion as he finished the session in 3rd place, only two tenths adrift of India and Great Britain, which had already 1 hour track time under their belt.

In the second segment, Alexandre could concentrate on the program he had with engineer James Robinson and step by step improved the car. Ten minutes into the session, the swiss hit the top of the timesheet with 1.17.4, a time that would resist attempts for many minutes before India and France went ahead. On his last run, Alexandre was on a flying lap that would come in the 1.16.8 area when he had a wild slide entering the last corner and had to settle with 1.17.2, good enough for 3rd place once again, behind India and France, and effectively the second best rookie in the session.

Alexandre: "The session went well. I got used to the car step by step but the track was quite a challenge. It is probably the bumpier circuit I have been to, and it still had water running on the track in places. I was on a really quick lap towards the end and it's just a shame I could turn it into an even better position but the important thing was to give good information to the team and bring the car back safely. Overall it was a good session and we beat many drivers that had a lot of running in pre-season."

-credit: alexandreimperatori.com

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Series A1GP
Drivers Neel Jani , James Robinson , Alexandre Imperatori , Danny Watts