Round 5 Taupo: Jani keeps up the pace Neel Jani, experienced a trouble-free final practice session on Saturday morning where A1 Team Switzerland finished fourth fastest, with a time of 1.15.590. Later Jani qualified in eleventh place for...
Round 5 Taupo: Jani keeps up the pace
Neel Jani, experienced a trouble-free final practice session on Saturday morning where A1 Team Switzerland finished fourth fastest, with a time of 1.15.590. Later Jani qualified in eleventh place for Sunday's sprint race and a stunning third place for the feature race.
The weather conditions were not as hot this morning as they were yesterday and the sky was overcast. The high temperatures of the past days had dropped by 10 degrees to around a pleasant 21 degrees but strong winds were gusting over the track. Despite spending the first half of the third official practice session confined to the garage with a technical problem, championship leader Switzerland's Neel Jani completed 24 laps and clocked a comfortable fourth fastest time of 1.15.590. In the afternoon, Neel finished 11th place starting position for the sprint race and will in third grid position for the feature race.
Under 2007-2008 regulations, qualifying consists of four 15-minute sessions with a five minute break between each one. The fastest lap time set by each team's nominated driver in the first two qualifying segments will determine the grid for the rolling start Sprint race, while the fastest times set in the final two segments will determine how the 22 cars will line up on the grid for the standing start feature race. Each driver is limited to one 'flying lap' per 15-minute session.
Neel Jani commented, "By the time of the third practice, our tire problems from yesterday had being identified and I was able to fight. We had three trips to the gravel, which is quite unusual for us. But, between the strong winds and some set-up choices that did not work, we managed to get it together even if some corners have not worked. It is really easy to make mistakes on this track. There are heavy winds and it makes how much grip you find in the corners unpredictable.
"I was determined to obtain another good result for the two qualifying sessions. I thought I was quicker but then Germany passed, New Zealand became second, and Ireland took third while France grabbed the pole and I will be 11th for the tolling start of the sprint race as I ran wide at the first turn.
"I will be starting in the second row from third position for the feature race. It looks like we have found the right balance on this challenging track. Nevertheless, I am convinced that the long feature race will be interesting and challenging for everyone and that something good can come out of it even with our start positions."
Max Welti, team principal, A1 Team Switzerland commented: "Neel had a few problems with the setup in the third session. But we have identified the problem from yesterday. It was a faulty oval rim that disrupted our work at track. We need a good start and no mistakes for both races on this challenging track in order to find a good pace for the two races and to finish in a good position."