Portimao, 10 April 2009: The A1GP World Cup of Motorsport has travelled for the first time to the new Autodromo Internacional do Algarve for round six of the 2008/9 season this weekend. Rain greeted the teams at the Autodromo this morning, ...
Portimao, 10 April 2009: The A1GP World Cup of Motorsport has travelled for the first time to the new Autodromo Internacional do Algarve for round six of the 2008/9 season this weekend.
Rain greeted the teams at the Autodromo this morning, providing damp and slippery early track conditions. Hubertus Bahlsen's initial 'Rookie' session was cut short following a spin on his flying lap. The second session was halted for over half an hour due to a Red Flag situation and when the Green light was finally illuminated there were only ten minutes of the session remaining. All 17 participating teams quickly rejoined the session and Hubertus negotiated the busy track to set a time of 1:42.782 moments before a final Red Flag terminated running a few minutes ahead of schedule.
Monegasque driver Clivio Piccione took over in the team's A1GP 'powered by Ferrari' car for Official Practice 2 this afternoon. An early Red Flag deployment due to a stop out on track by host team Portugal caused a momentary lapse in on-track action, but as soon as the session resumed Clivio was catching the existing front runners and running in 11th place. He continued to improve on pace and was running in sixth position until he set a stunning final lap as the chequered flag was waved. A fastest lap time of 1:32.242 propelled him in to third position at the end of a hugely competitive final Friday practice session for the Vodafone A1GP Algarve, Portugal event.
Hubertus Bahlsen, 'Rookie' Driver and Seat-Holder: "We started the day with a very good set-up and had no problems. I was using a seat made for me for the first time this morning, so it felt much better to drive. I struggled with technique, however, and in the first session I stalled the car. But this is still a learning curve for me and the second session was good, so it is a shame we ran out of time with the Yellow and Red Flags. The track is very interesting and the car is extremely good so it only required fine tuning for Clivio this afternoon. His style is well suited to driving here, he likes the track and his last lap this afternoon was controlled and focussed."
Clivio Piccione, Driver and Seat-Holder: "It was a pretty good day. The car felt the best it has done so far straight from the box. The engineers did a great job setting up the car, preparing us in advance, and we stuck to our plan today. The track has a really nice flow to it with good high speed corners and hard breaking points. The car set-up suits me, so we just have some fine tuning to do for tomorrow and we have made a good start to the weekend."
Graham Taylor, Team Principal: "This morning we benefitted from running the car in the Rookie session with Hubertus. The circuit was damp to start with and offered very little grip and although the program was interrupted by the long Red Flag it was good to be running again. With Clivio running in the afternoon he benefitted with a new set of tyres and adhered to the predetermined plan. A run at the end of the session has given us hope of continued competitiveness."