Sepang: Team France Saturday notes

Malaysia : A last-minute surprise! Today, A1 Team France competed in the 4-part qualifying session for the Feature and Sprint races in the 3rd round of the 2008-09 A1 World Cup of Motorsport Championship tomorrow on the Sepang circuit in ...

Malaysia : A last-minute surprise!

Today, A1 Team France competed in the 4-part qualifying session for the Feature and Sprint races in the 3rd round of the 2008-09 A1 World Cup of Motorsport Championship tomorrow on the Sepang circuit in Malaysia.

The organisers had a surprise up their sleeve for everybody: they allowed the drivers to use their power boost over a full flying lap in one of the qualifying segments. This device gives the engine a power boost of some 10%, or around half-a-second over a lap this weekend.

The team discussed this and decided to use the tweak in the second qualifying segment that determines the grid for the Sprint race. Knowing that it's difficult to fight one's way though traffic in this event, A1 Team France's aim was the following: guarantee a place at the front of the grid in the first race to bag the maximum number of points, and then bet on the length of the pit stops in the second to move to the front of the field. It was the right choice.

Despite a small error due to his lack of experience with the new car on new tyres, Loic Duval set the second-quickest time in the first 2 segments. He will start from the first row in the Sprint race alongside Switzerland, which also used its power boost. Only few teams made the same choice.

In the next 2 segments Loic did a great job. He dialled in a very fast lap setting the ninth-quickest time, while almost all his rivals used their power boost.

Tomorrow, the team's aim will be a couple of rostrum finishes so that it leaves Malaysia leading the championship.

Olivier Panis, sporting director: "We weighed up the pros and cons of the new rule, and opted to use the power boost in qualifying for the Short race. Our gamble paid off. Starting from second place Loic can target a rostrum finish. We're optimistic about the Feature race for several reasons. First of all, our strategy should enable us to gain several places. Then, given our level of performance so far this weekend, we should be able to pull off a few good passing moves on this circuit, which calls for an aggressive approach. Lastly, several of the teams in front of us on the grid are much slower. We should be able to overtake them without problems. So quite a lot of action to look forward to!"

Loic Duval: "I made a small mistake on my power boost lap as I still lack a few automatic reactions with the new car. I could have set the quickest time, but second isn't too bad. Our aim in the Feature race is the rostrum. We've picked up a lot of speed since yesterday and I'm now dialled in with the car. On the Sepang circuit you can push really hard. The heat could also upset things, as it'll be a stiff test of the drivers' physical fitness. In short, we can really go for it tomorrow and we'll seize the slightest opportunity!"

Both races will be broadcasted on sunday on AB Moteurs (sprint race at 7:00am in live and 2:0 0pm delayed) and on NT1 (feature race, 3:00pm).

-credit: france

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About this article
Series A1GP
Drivers Olivier Panis , Loic Duval