Tricky Taupo Qualifying for A1 Team GBR and Kerr Robbie Kerr will line up on the seventh and fifth rows of the grid for A1 Team GBR for tomorrow's sprint and feature races at the Taupo Motorsport Park in New Zealand. A1 Team GBR head into ...
Tricky Taupo Qualifying for A1 Team GBR and Kerr
Robbie Kerr will line up on the seventh and fifth rows of the grid for A1 Team GBR for tomorrow's sprint and feature races at the Taupo Motorsport Park in New Zealand. A1 Team GBR head into tomorrow's races at the Taupo Motorsport Park disappointed with its grid slots but confident that its race pace can prevail. After struggling with grip throughout qualifying and also suffering a technical problem which the team are now investigating, Robbie Kerr had to settle for 13th place in sprint qualifying. He improved for the feature race qualifying, bringing the GBR car home ninth fastest, setting himself up for a fifth row start.
Confidence was high in the team following Kerr's impressive performance in this morning's final one-hour practice session. Throughout the hour he consistently toppled his own best lap times, and finished the session second fastest, his best lap just one tenth of a second behind practice leaders Team France. In qualifying for the sprint race, Team GBR opted for the same strategy as all of the other teams, going out late on the windy and dusty track to try to get a clean run. Unfortunately, Robbie came upon traffic on his outlap, preventing him from getting the new rubber up to optimum running temperature for his hot lap. He came upon further misfortune on his qualifying lap when he was blocked by Team India spinning in front. His lap time of 1:17.876 placed him in provisional 11th position.
Once again running on new tyres in the second session, Robbie improved on his time by over a second, setting a lap of 1:16.731. However, the session was incredibly tight and, still struggling to get the best from the tyres, Team GBR slipped down the standings to 13th.
The team made significant set-up changes ahead of first qualifying for the feature race although, running on old tyres, it was difficult to see the benefit of the changes. Robbie set a lap of 1:16.485, placing him provisional 11th. In final qualifying, Robbie completed a better hot lap on his new tyres, but lost time in sector three when he clipped a kerb, running slightly wide. Nevertheless, he set his best lap with a time of 1:15.895 and moved up to ninth fastest, putting him on the fifth row of the grid for the feature race. Following qualifying Team GBR has begun investigations into a possible fuel pressure problem which affected Robbie during the session.
Robbie Kerr: "I'm obviously disappointed with qualifying having been reasonably competitive yesterday, very competitive this morning and setting competitive laps on old tyres. But the grip levels just weren't there during qualifying and we also have a technical problem which the team is going to look into. Then on the last lap, I pushed too hard which cost a couple of tenths. Unfortunately we weren't in a position to be in the front row this time."
Katie Clements, Team Principal: "We're obviously not where we want to be, particularly after a promising performance in practice this morning. It will be a struggle starting from 13th and 9th on the grid, but the team are confident that our race pace will be competitive, so we'll be aiming for some points."
Sunday's 20 minute Sprint race will start at 1100 local time (Saturday 2200 GMT) and the 70 minute Feature race starting at 1500 local time (0200 GMT).
Sky Sports will broadcast all the live action from Taupo from 1am on Sunday 20 January on Sky Sports 2. A1 Team GBR's Oliver Jarvis will be a guest in the studio, offering his expert opinion on all the action at Taupo.