Team Ireland on Pole Position in Malaysia Dublin, 22nd Nov 2008; It was another day of firsts for Team Ireland at the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport in Sepang, Malaysia, today where Adam Carroll produced a blistering lap in qualifying...
Team Ireland on Pole Position in Malaysia
Dublin, 22nd Nov 2008; It was another day of firsts for Team Ireland at the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport in Sepang, Malaysia, today where Adam Carroll produced a blistering lap in qualifying to take the team's first ever Feature race pole position. Coming two weeks after the team moved into second place in the series with a first and second in China, today's performance bodes well for another strong result tomorrow afternoon.
Ireland timed their final qualifying run to perfection and made best use of a full lap of power boost - providing 660bhp from the Ferrari V8 engine - to take the all important pole for the one hour Feature event after earlier qualifying seventh for the Sprint race.
New rules allowing the teams a single lap of boost from the A1GP cars during qualifying meant that the grids for the two races were quite different and Ireland chose to play their ace card in qualifying for the higher points value Feature event.
Carroll was second fastest in the first part of Sprint race qualifying but failed to improve in the second segment, slipping to seventh place as some other teams either chose to use power boost or a second set of new tyres.
With just a few minutes to prepare between sessions, the teams were soon back out on track for Feature race qualifying and Carroll put Ireland on top of the time sheets with the first of his two flying laps.
With an 60bhp boost for his final full lap of the 5.54km Sepang circuit Carroll saved the best for last to shave a whopping 1.4 seconds off his time and secure the all important top spot.
"This is another step for Team Ireland," said Team Principal Mark Gallagher afterwards. "Our first Feature race pole is the result of continued focus and the talent we have at our disposal. Adam and our new Technical Director Gerry Hughes have forged a strong partnership, but the entire team has done another great job to extract the maximum from the car in both sessions.
"The team didn't panic when we slipped to seventh at the end of Sprint race qualifying because we knew some teams had used their power boost early on. For us the Feature race was always the more important one and Adam carried out our strategy perfectly.
"It's also good that our overall qualifying performance is very strong compared to those of our immediate rivals in the championship. Now, with the good work done today, we need to ensure that tomorrow brings the results and points-haul we want to take away from this weekend."
Adam Carroll: I'm very pleased with this result because it's been hard work getting the most out the car so far this weekend. I'm delighted for everyone in the team. It's a hard, long circuit to put a good lap together and getting the best out of the car around this track is not easy. It doesn't always feel like the perfect lap but it worked out for us.
"The difference with the power boost on for the full lap is very noticeable. The Ferrari engine sounds like it's really working and you can really feel the extra power under your right foot. It's going to be a very tough couple of races tomorrow in the heat and humidity and I'll be working hard to make sure we get two strong results to keep up our title challenge."
Team Technical Director Gerry Hughes: "It was a hard session all in all with a very pleasing result. It was slightly disappointing where we ended up in Sprint race qualifying but now we've got single lap power boost in qualifying it tends to mix it up a little bit."
"We're playing a strategic game and there are five points more for the Feature race victory so we have to set our targets and stick to them.
"Feature race qualifying went to plan and Adam put together two really good laps. For the races it'll be important to stay out of trouble on the first lap of the Sprint and hope that the rolling start and the pit stop works to our advantage. The Sprint race for us will be about points, keeping our nose clean and making sure that the car's in good shape for the Feature race. That's where we will focus for our top result tomorrow."
Watching qualifying with the team were Eddie Irvine's parents Edmund and Kathleen and the team will be hoping that some of the alchemy that produced victory for Eddie in Malaysia in '99 will rub off on Team Ireland this weekend.
Tomorrow's Sprint Race starts at 11am local time, 3am Irish time while the Feature Race is scheduled to get under way at 3pm local, 7am Irish time. With ambient temperatures of over 30 degrees and track temperatures in the mid-40's, both events will be extremely demanding on the drivers and cars.