Taupo: Series Friday practice report

France Tops Friday Practice in Taupo New Zealand -- A1 Team France topped the time sheets in the second of today's two free practice sessions at Taupo as all 22 drivers took to the track with biofuel in their tanks, making history at round five...

France Tops Friday Practice in Taupo

New Zealand -- A1 Team France topped the time sheets in the second of today's two free practice sessions at Taupo as all 22 drivers took to the track with biofuel in their tanks, making history at round five of the 2007/08 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport season.

Despite not taking part in the rookie session this morning, 25-year-old French driver Loic Duval clocked the best lap of the day, completing the 3.5km circuit in 1m15.545s in glorious sunshine.

'It was a good session for us especially without the rookie session this morning', Duval said. 'We worked with the data from last year and I think the car was great, I feel really good here. Actually it means nothing to be on the front row on Friday, it happened many times last year and I didn't get pole position, so that is my target for tomorrow.'

The magnificent Lake Taupo provides the backdrop for one of the most picturesque races of the season and Duval sites the event as one of the highlights on the A1GP calendar:

'For me this is the best country we go to, it's really good here. It feels more like a holiday. I love the track, the people, the mentality, it's just perfect to be here.'

Ireland's Adam Carroll, who was the quickest man on track in the first 25-minute practice segment this morning, set the second fastest time of the day while championship leader Switzerland's Neel Jani finished third, just over a tenth of a second off the emerald green car.

Defending champion Germany's Christian Vietoris has been on strong form all day and the 18-year-old from Gonnersdorf set the fourth fastest time of the day while USA's Jonathan Summerton took the fifth spot. A1 Team Great Britain driver Robbie Kerr finished the day in sixth place, closely followed by Canada's Robert Wickens in seventh, who was on superb form in this morning's rookie session.

Home nation A1 Team New Zealand's Jonny Reid was eighth quickest this afternoon but remains optimistic for the weekend ahead. The 24-year-old from Auckland finished the day eighth fastest overall.

'It was a very tough session,' Reid said. 'Everyone was very very tight in the times but we've got some areas where we can improve. The track conditions were changing a lot and obviously we didn't get as close as we would have liked, but there's still plenty of time over these early days. There's not too much to change overnight really. We had a small problem which we will improve but if we actually look at all my sector times I'm sure we're very close to France, so we just need to capitalise on one small area and hopefully we will be there.'

Australia's new lead driver John Martin was an impressive second fastest in both sessions this morning, finally ending the day in 12th place behind Italy's Edoardo Piscopo.

The times are just under a second slower than last year, largely due to Turn 12 being a much tighter corner, designed to increase overtaking opportunities.

-credit: a1gp.com

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Series A1GP
Drivers Robbie Kerr , Adam Carroll , Neel Jani , Robert Wickens , Loic Duval , Christian Vietoris , Jonny Reid , Jonathan Summerton , John Martin