Shanghai: Series qualifying report

Switzerland Storms to Second Double Pole of Season Shanghai, China -- Championship leader Neel Jani continued his sensational form to qualify the Swiss car in pole position for tomorrow's Sprint and Feature race at the A1GP Shanghai, ...

Switzerland Storms to Second Double Pole of Season

Shanghai, China -- Championship leader Neel Jani continued his sensational form to qualify the Swiss car in pole position for tomorrow's Sprint and Feature race at the A1GP Shanghai, China.

Sprint race qualifying Twenty-four-year-old Neel Jani set the fastest lap in the closing moments of the second 15-minute qualifying segment to take pole position for tomorrow morning's Sprint race from Portugal's Filipe Albuquerque, who set the fastest lap during Q1 and has been on superb form all weekend.

Canada's Robert Wickens, who only arrived in China yesterday (Friday) due to prior testing commitments in Europe, put in an incredible performance to qualify third. India's Narain Karthikeyan, who was also on fine form, will line up alongside Wickens in fourth while New Zealand's Jonny Reid qualified in fifth position on the third row, a disappointing result for the title contenders.

USA's Jonathan Summerton, who finished on the Feature race podium last time out in Mexico, will start the race from sixth alongside Reid while Malaysia's Alex Yoong and Ireland's Adam Carroll will line up behind him in seventh and eighth place respectively on row four. Germany's Michael Ammermuller and Great Britain's Robbie Kerr complete the top ten grid positions.

Feature race qualifying Having secured the Sprint race pole, Switzerland's Neel Jani stormed to the top spot for the Feature race, improving on his provisional pole time set in Q3 by half a second to make it another double pole position for the Swiss team.

Jonathan Summerton continued to impress in the USA car and will line up alongside Jani in second place on the front row. Portugal's Filipe Albuquerque leapt up the order during the final qualifying segment to snatch third position and he will be joined on the second row by Ireland's Adam Carroll, who shot up to fourth place in the closing moments of Q4.

India's Narain Karthikeyan and Malaysia's Alex Yoong will start the Feature race from fifth and sixth place respectively while New Zealand's Jonny Reid could only manage seventh on the grid. GBR's Robbie Kerr will line up alongside him in eighth and the pair will be followed off the grid by South Africa's Adrian Zaugg in ninth and France's Franck Montagny, who was flying this morning, in tenth.

Home nation A1 Team China's Congfu Cheng endured a difficult day, qualifying in 15th for the Sprint race and 20th for the Feature, having battled with technical problems relating to the suspension system on the Chinese car.

With Switzerland's nearest challengers in the title battle, New Zealand, France and GBR, all experiencing disappointing qualifying sessions, Jani has put the Swiss car in a perfect position to increase his team's lead and stamp Switzerland's authority on the championship.

Jani has now notched up seven pole positions during his A1GP career and secured two double poles this season, his first at round three in Malaysia. His stunning performance today means the Swiss star now holds the record for the most number of pole positions secured by an A1GP driver, beating five which was previously held jointly by him and Adrian Zaugg.

Sprint and Feature race pole-sitter Neel Jani, whose main aim is to pick up maximum championship points tomorrow, said:

'The team did a great job. We were struggling a little bit for the first run in qualifying but then we made a change and from then on we had fantastic pace. We don't know about the weather for tomorrow -- it might rain which could change everything. If I get a good start there is nothing to worry about and I think the guys next to me are sensible and they don't want to go out either. I don't need to win at the moment, I just need points and that's what I'm going for. If I can win, even better!'

Portuguese rookie Filipe Albuquerque, who will start the Sprint race from second and the Feature race from third on the grid, is targeting his first A1GP victory:

'This is only my third race so I'm quite happy to be starting second and third and I think we did a good job. I thought I had got pole for the Sprint but Neel was just way too fast so I think P2 was the best we could do. Then for Feature qualifying I was behind Wickens (Canada) and he made a small mistake and I couldn't put my lap together but still third is ok with those mistakes. I'm happy to be on the first row in the Sprint race and if I have a chance to overtake Neel I will definitely go for the first place. We're nowhere in the championship so I don't care about the points I just care about the win.'

Tomorrow's Sprint race in Shanghai will start at 11.00 local time and the 70-minute Feature race will start at 15.00.

Credit: a1gp

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series A1GP
Drivers Narain Karthikeyan , Alex Yoong , Robbie Kerr , Adam Carroll , Neel Jani , Robert Wickens , Adrian Zaugg , Filipe Albuquerque , Jonny Reid , Jonathan Summerton , Congfu Cheng