Sepang: Series Qualifying report

Switzerland Secures Double Pole at Sepang Switzerland's Neel Jani put in a sensational performance during qualifying for the A1GP Sepang, Malaysia this afternoon to take pole position for tomorrow's Sprint and Feature race. The Swiss star ...

Switzerland Secures Double Pole at Sepang

Switzerland's Neel Jani put in a sensational performance during qualifying for the A1GP Sepang, Malaysia this afternoon to take pole position for tomorrow's Sprint and Feature race. The Swiss star will start the Sprint race from P1 tomorrow morning for the third consecutive season at Sepang and he will lead the drivers off the grid for A1GP's 50th ever race tomorrow afternoon.

Sprint race qualifying Neel Jani continued his magnificent form around the Sepang circuit, setting the quickest lap during the first qualifying segment and going on to better it in the second to snatch pole position for the Sprint race from A1 Team France, demoting Loic Duval to second on the grid.

Great Britain's Oliver Jarvis and German rookie Michael Ammermuller will line up alongside each other on the second row of the Sprint race grid, followed by Canada's Robert Wickens and championship leader New Zealand's Jonny Reid in fifth and sixth place respectively.

Feature race qualifying Having secured pole position for the Sprint race, Jani stamped his authority on the weekend by going on to also take pole for the Feature race, recording an outstanding lap of 1m47.648s in the closing minutes of the session, almost a second quicker than GBR's Oliver Jarvis who will line up alongside him on the front row.

Germany's Michael Ammermuller and Frenchman Loic Duval qualified in third and fourth position respectively while the Netherlands' Jeroen Bleekemolen will start the Feature race from fifth on the grid. Brazilian rookie Sergio Jimenez will line up alongside the Dutchman in sixth place on the third row.

After a challenging session, home nation Malaysia's Alex Yoong will start the Sprint race from 19th position and the Feature race from 15th.

Neel Jani was delighted with his final flying lap in the Swiss car and is aiming to convert his team's double pole into a double victory tomorrow:

'I thought that my 48.4 which I did on old tyres might already be enough for pole position. So on my last round I just went out and thought just go easy, don't push too much or break too late, and suddenly there was a 47.7 so maybe that was the solution! James, my engineer, and the team adjusted the car for each segment - we made some little adjustments on the tyres with ride heights and each time I went out the car was better and everything was just perfect. I hope we do tomorrow what we didn't do the last two years - get both race wins.'

The 23-year-old driver was also keen to recognise the contribution of Swiss rookie Rahel Frey, who took part in the first practice session at Sepang on Friday morning:

'My set up was not so far from what she (Rahel) figured out more or less so I have to thank her for that. It's a team effort with the rookie session and you have to go step by step.'

French driver Loic Duval knows the Sepang circuit well but struggled with the balance of the car during today's qualifying session:

'I've raced here before in a different category so it wasn't so difficult for me to learn the track. The braking points are a bit different in an A1GP car obviously but anyway it was enough to be at the front this weekend. We had quite a bit of understeer during the first three qualifying segments, so we tried something different in the last one to try to take pole, but then I suffered from big oversteer so it wasn't good actually. We're not quick enough to beat Neel this weekend in qualifying anyway.'

Great Britain's Oliver Jarvis, who will start the Sprint race from third on the grid and the Feature race from second, commented:

'We put on a new set of tyres for Qualifying 1 and the difference was amazing. Unfortunately it just caught me out as the car had a lot of oversteer. I turned into the double right hander and the car turned in immediately and I clipped the curb and nearly went off. So we didn't really set a competitive time in Q1 which meant we had to take Qualifying 2 quite cautiously. I think it would have been possible to get pole for the Sprint but we didn't have the pace for a 1.47, so congratulations to Neel and the team, they did a fantastic job to take pole in both.'

Tomorrow's Sprint race at Sepang, Malaysia will start at 11.00 local time and the 70-minute Feature race will start at 15:00.

* A1 Team Lebanon will start tomorrow's Feature race from the back of the grid after having its lap time from the third qualifying session disqualified when the car was found to be under the minimum weight at the end of that segment.

-credit: a1gp.com

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About this article
Series A1GP
Drivers Alex Yoong , Neel Jani , Oliver Jarvis , Robert Wickens , Loic Duval , Jonny Reid , Sergio Jimenez , Rahel Frey , Michael Ammermüller