Eastern Creek: Series Friday practice report

France Flies in Friday Practice at Eastern Creek Australia -- A1 Team France was on incredible form today, topping the time sheets in the second of today's two free practice sessions at Sydney's Eastern Creek Raceway as round six of the 2007/08...

France Flies in Friday Practice at Eastern Creek

Australia -- A1 Team France was on incredible form today, topping the time sheets in the second of today's two free practice sessions at Sydney's Eastern Creek Raceway as round six of the 2007/08 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport season got underway in wet and overcast conditions.

The 25-year-old French driver Loic Duval, who landed in Sydney on Friday morning and arrived at the track just one hour before the afternoon session began, managed to sign-on and complete all the necessary technical briefings required to take part in this weekend's A1GP event. Duval recorded the best lap of the day on his first flying lap around the 3.93 km circuit, a blisteringly quick 1m18.675s, slashing A1 Team Germany's lap record by half a second.

Canadian rookie Robert Wickens clocked the second fastest time of the day, closely followed by Great Britain's Robbie Kerr in third and current championship leader New Zealand's Jonny Reid in fourth.

Lebanon's Chris Alajajian was on superb form today, setting the fifth quickest lap overall and the second fastest time of the hour this morning, recording the nation's best ever time during a rookie and developing nations session.

Home nation A1 Team Australia's John Martin set the pace in this morning's rookie session on a drying track, putting in a series of competitive lap times and taking the top spot. The 23-year-old, who finished the day seventh overall behind the Netherlands' Jeroen Bleekemolen, is aiming high for qualifying tomorrow in front of his home crowd:

'Obviously we won't be happy unless we're on pole tomorrow, but I think that top five would be a reasonably good result for my second meeting. The car was ok today but we made a few changes between the sessions. We had to wait for the track to clear up a bit and then the China car spun so I didn't really get the best lap on lap one, so I came straight back to the pits. Then when I went back out after that the grip was never the same so I guess seventh isn't too bad, but I would've loved to have been a bit higher up.'

France's Loic Duval, who set the fastest time of the day despite arriving at the circuit just one hour before the session started, thinks there is still room for improvement:

'It was a bit tight for me because I arrived here at 1pm on the track, 11am at the airport, but I am quite happy. My lap was not perfect but still it was enough to get the best lap time. This afternoon the car was not too bad. We still have to improve a bit though, especially on my driving we have a bit to do.'

A1 Team Australia seat holder Alan Jones was pleased with John Martin's performance today:

'We are very pleased. When we tested John at Silverstone he showed promise. Then he backed that up consistently when he did the rookie drives. Because of that he has been rewarded with the lead drive and he hasn't disappointed. At New Zealand he really didn't get a chance to get into his stride for one reason or another, but we knew that there was an underlying thing there. New Zealand was the first time John had experienced push to pass and the first time he'd done a one lap dash on new tyres, so a lot of firsts for him. We knew that with that under his belt he'd be good here and I think he proved that in the rookies this morning.'

A1 Team Switzerland, title leader when the series arrived for round five in New Zealand last month and defending champion Germany, struggled at Eastern Creek today, finishing the day 12th and 14th respectively.

-credit: a1gp

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Series A1GP
Drivers Alan Jones , Robbie Kerr , Robert Wickens , Loic Duval , Chris Alajajian , Jonny Reid , John Martin