Strong qualifying for Pakistan in South Africa A1 Team Pakistan driver Adam Khan put in a strong performance today, around the tight and twisting streets that make up the A1GP Durban, South Africa. The 22 year-old racer battled against injury...
Strong qualifying for Pakistan in South Africa
A1 Team Pakistan driver Adam Khan put in a strong performance today, around the tight and twisting streets that make up the A1GP Durban, South Africa. The 22 year-old racer battled against injury to put in the team's second best qualifying result of the season - and will line up 14th for tomorrow's Feature race. The team will start the Sprint race from 15th place.
The demanding Durban track served up its usual challenges today, with former F1 driver Narain Karthikeyan crashing out in the Indian car just two laps into this morning's practice session. A number of other cars followed, leading to four red flag periods in total. Khan continued to make progress and by the end of the one hour session, was 15th ahead of India, Australia and Mexico and several others.
As a temporary, bumpy street circuit, the Durban race puts the A1GP drivers under immense physical pressure. As one of the tallest drivers in the series, Khan has little space inside the confined space of the A1GP car cockpit. This, together with the very bumpy surface of the Durban race track resulted in severely bruised and swollen elbows for the Pakistan driver. Having received medical attention, the 22 year-old carried on regardless into the afternoon's qualifying session.
In a system unique to A1GP, each team completes one flying lap in four qualifying segments. The team's fastest lap from the first two segments sets the grid position for the Sprint race, while the fastest lap from the second two segments sets the grid slot for the Feature race
Taking to the track early on in the first qualifying segment, Khan set a good bench mark time. A crash by A1 Team New Zealand brought out a red flag soon after and as the clock continued to tick down, some countries failed to set a time. By the end of the segment, Pakistan were in provisional fourth place on the Sprint race grid. With just one more flying lap in the second qualifying segment to better their times, the 22 A1GP cars were out on track again. With the pressure on, all the teams were pushing hard and by the end of the segment, Pakistan had set the 15th fastest time.
As the sun continued to beat down on the Durban track, Khan was back out to qualify for the Feature race. On new tyres, Khan's first attempt put the team in a provisional ninth place, ahead of current world champions A1 Team Germany and former race winners Netherlands and Malaysia. The Pakistan car was one of the first back out on track for the final qualifying segment for the day. Determined to protect or better his Feature race grid slot, Khan was charging and put in his best time of the weekend so far. With a number of other teams also improving and putting in last minute improvements, Khan will line up 14th for tomorrow's Feature race.
Speaking about his injured elbows, Khan said, "Because I'm very tall I get bashed about anyway, but because this is a bumpy street circuit, it's very bad here. My elbows are really sore, but we're here to do a job, so I've just got to get on with it. Qualifying was ok, the team did a great job and the car felt good. I think we could have done better in qualifying for the Sprint race, but I was pleased with our effort the Feature race. Around here you do have to be a little conservative in qualifying, just to keep the car in one piece for the races. I think we're in really good shape for points tomorrow."
Driver coach Danny Watts added, "We're much closer to the leaders now, we've made really good progress; Adam has real fight to do well. I think we need to try and stay out of trouble tomorrow, as I think there could be some incidents at the first corner. The team's really pleased with how it went today and looking forward to the races."
Racing action will commence tomorrow at 11.00 am local time for the 20 minute Sprint race, followed by the 70 minute Feature race at 15.00.