Shanghai -- A1 Team Malaysia snatched their first pole position for the final Sprint race of the 2005/06 A1 Grand Prix season this afternoon after the flag had dropped in the last of the four Qualifying sessions. A1 Team Great Britain's Darren ...
Shanghai -- A1 Team Malaysia snatched their first pole position for the final Sprint race of the 2005/06 A1 Grand Prix season this afternoon after the flag had dropped in the last of the four Qualifying sessions. A1 Team Great Britain's Darren Manning, who led from the word go, was denied the opportunity to head up the grid in his first A1GP race by Malaysia's Alex Yoong. While Manning still recorded the fastest lap of Qualifying (1.51.832), Yoong pushed his aggregate time ahead of A1 Teams France and Great Britain, with a 1.51.846 flying lap after leaving the pits in the last few minutes of the session.
Darren Manning, making his debut for A1 Team Great Britain, praised the A1GP Qualifying system for the excitement that it added to the day. 'I thought it was all over after I was quickest in the first session but this qualifying system is different, it isn't over until the last car crosses the line. It's a really good result for A1 Team Great Britain. I made a small mistake just before the back straight, and lost too much speed. The back straight is very long and I lost a lot of time. Without that I think I would have been even closer to Alex. I have little experience as to how the Series is run, but we are doing ok, and I will be going out to win the race tomorrow.'
First time A1GP pole sitter Alex Yoong, was pleased with his performance: 'Today was really good, the car was brilliant, we made a couple of small improvements from yesterday. It's a great day for A1 Team Malaysia. The team is brand new, and was only put together for A1GP, it has been a big effort for a lot of people. This will mean a lot to the people in Malaysia, which, like China, does not have a motorsport background.'
Alex Premat took to the track for the first time today, after his team mate, Nicolas Lapierre drove yesterday's practice sessions. 'Just before Qualifying I managed to do a few laps during third practice. So I had to learn the set up of the car and the circuit quickly. I made a few mistakes, but for tomorrow I think it will be perfect.'
With three official practice sessions and four 15 minute Qualifying sessions completed over two days, not a single red flag has been seen all weekend. There have been a few spins including a matching pair from A1 Teams Australia and USA on turn one in the first Qualifying session and another from A1 Team New Zealand in Q3, but they each managed to get themselves back on track for the subsequent sessions.