Taupo: Team Canada Saturday report

Hinchcliffe Places Canada on Fourth Row in New Zealand Saturday 20 January, 2007 -- A1 Team Canada's James Hinchcliffe marked his first qualifying session of the New Year with a seventh place effort at Taupo Motorsports Park, New Zealand on ...

Hinchcliffe Places Canada on Fourth Row in New Zealand

Saturday 20 January, 2007 -- A1 Team Canada's James Hinchcliffe marked his first qualifying session of the New Year with a seventh place effort at Taupo Motorsports Park, New Zealand on Saturday prior to Sunday's sixth round of the 2006-07 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport.

The 20-year-old Toronto-native, competing for Canada in the nation versus nation series for the first time since Round 3 in China last November, clocked an aggregate time of 2m30.021s from his two fastest laps around the 3.5km Taupo circuit, setting himself up for a fourth row grid slot in Sunday morning's 20-minute Sprint race.

Hinchcliffe started the first of his four timed runs with an absolute flier on a fresh set of Cooper tires. The rookie racer posted the second fastest lap time with a 1m14.996s, just two tenths of a second shy of France's Loic Duval's leading best. Staying on the same set of rubber for his next run James remained competitive with the sixth fastest time, a 1m15.025s.

James' attempt to improve his best time on new tires was hampered by New Zealand's Jonny Reid in his third outing as the home favorite, and winner of both races in Round 5, forced the Canadian to back off following a brief off-track excursion leading to a disappointing 1m15.701s lap. While he bettered that on his fourth and final run, Hinchcliffe couldn't find the speed in the car to top his first two outings. Germany's Nico Hulkenberg claimed his maiden A1GP pole with French rookie Loic Duval joining his European rival on the front row for the morning's Sprint event -- the results of which determine the grid for the afternoon's 70-minute Feature race.

"We'd certainly hoped for more from qualifying," stated Hinchcliffe. :"I'm disappointed as I know I've got to work on my qualifying performances but we also just didn't have the speed there in the final run on new tires. This is a really slick track as it's a brand new surface. We've seen plenty of people go off so we can hopefully get a decent points haul tomorrow if we steer clear of trouble!"

-credit: team canada

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About this article
Series A1GP
Drivers Loic Duval , James Hinchcliffe , Jonny Reid , Nico Hulkenberg