Kral improves between the walls The Czech team and rookie Josef Kral coped well with the tricky track at Durban on Saturday and the youngster was improving all the time. The street track troubled all teams in the qualifying and the Czechs will...
Kral improves between the walls
The Czech team and rookie Josef Kral coped well with the tricky track at Durban on Saturday and the youngster was improving all the time. The street track troubled all teams in the qualifying and the Czechs will start the sprint from 18th and the feature race from 20th position.
Saturday's free practice was a chance to put in use Friday's experience and Kral (www.josefkral.cz) did well. He put in 26 laps and improved his maximum to 1:20.720, which was two seconds quicker comparing to Friday. One hour session was a bit longer in the end because there were three red flags after crashes of India, Italy and Ireland.
It was clear even before the qualifying began that tricky street track could turn expectations upside down. And the first session immediately confirmed that it would be the case. The qualifying was red flagged after New Zealand spun and the time ran out. The A1GP do not stop session time in the qualifying when there is a red flag. Only six cars therefore set a time. The grid was decided in the second session where yellow flags slowed Kral. His time was 1:21.919. The Czech team will start the sprint from the 18th place. Just to show trickiness of the qualifying, championship leader France finished 17th and home South African team even did not set a time!
The last two segments, which decided the feature race grid, followed a similar pattern. Kral was unlucky with a yellow flags in the first one. He was on course to set by his best lap of the weekend in the second one but the qualifying was again red flagged due to Adam Caroll's crash. The organisers managed to clear the track before the time ran out and last three minutes were really hectic. Kral improved his personal best to 1:20.369 but he still felt that it could have been better if his initial lap had not been stopped. He will start from 20th position.
Josef Kral: "It is pity that qualifying went in such a crazy way. I managed to speed up in the morning's practice. I am more and more used to the car and obviously I am more confident. Unfortunately, none of the four qualifying sessions was a smooth one. We even did not have a chance to make a run in the first one and I had to slow down due yellow flag in the second one. The same happened in the third one. I was on a very good lap in the last session but it was interrupted by a red flag. I am sure that I would have gone under 1:20. The adnatage from new tyres were gone, the car was not that good after restart. Races will bring a whole new experience for me but I believe that I will cope with everything. Overtaking is not easy here but the priority is to finish both races. All practices and qualifying showed that anything can happen here and just finish the race was enough to take points last year."
Antonin Charouz, Seat holder: "We have not expected any miracles this weekend. The most important thing for Josef is to finish both races and gain as much experience as possible. He can capitalize on it in the future."