Erik Janis took fourth row in wet Young debutant in the Czech team held his nerves perfectly in changeable conditions that accompanied the first day of the third A1GP Season at Zandvoort. Erik Janis qualified the Czech car to the fourth row of...
Erik Janis took fourth row in wet
Young debutant in the Czech team held his nerves perfectly in changeable conditions that accompanied the first day of the third A1GP Season at Zandvoort. Erik Janis qualified the Czech car to the fourth row of the Feature race while the Sprint race will start from 7th row.
The third A1GP World cup of Motorsport season started in Dutch Zandvoort. The all A1GP runs are scheduled to two days only instead of usual three days. The nice Dutch track is as always full of fans and today was not an exception. All competitors had to cope with rain showers during the whole Saturday. It was not an easy situation for anybody but the Czech youngster should have been affected more than others. Erik Janis tested the A1GP car only during two official tests and unlike others he did not have benefit of experience with similar or even more powerful cars.
Erik however proved his qualities and showed that he has a great natural feel that is in premium in wet or damp conditions. The first practice was very promising with ninth time after 23 laps. Hi just missed top ten in the second practice after another 26 laps around the demanding and tricky track.
Qualifying saw a new system for the first time. Like in previous season drivers have four qualifying sessions with only one flying lap in each but this year they determine the grids for both Sprint and Feature races. Better time from the first two session counts for the Sprint while better from the last two decides the Feature race grid. Erik used scrubbed tyres in the first two sessions but his effort was compromised due heavy traffic and finished 14th with better lap from the first session. The team put on new wet tyres for the last two qualifying sessions and once again Erik was held up in the first of them and set only 15th time. Together with the team and older brother Jarek, who is working as a driver coach during his recovery, decided to take a risky strategy and wait for the very last moment. A good time was a must otherwise the Czech car would start feature race close to the back of the grid. Twenty years old driver absorbed the pressure well and fully used a clear track ahead. He qualified superb seventh just two tenths shy of the second row!
Erik Janis: "It was not the easiest start for my A1GP career. The conditions were changing the whole day. I am really happy with seventh for the Feature race. I had problem with traffic in previous runs, so we decided to wait till the last moment and it worked out perfectly. The track was probably at its best I was able to drive my line and the time was there. As I said, I had some problems with traffic in previous runs, so 14th on the sprint grid is not ideal but it is still not bad because it is my first A1GP race weekend. I will be in the midfield after both starts and it is a space where is easy to get some hits. First of all I want to survive first corners and than we will see. My first priority is to finish both races and get more mileage under my belt."
Jarek Janis: "I think that Erik did well. He is the most inexperienced driver in the field with such cars. I think he was a bit nervous at the beginning but settled in and the last lap was really good. I am happy for him."
Antonin Charouz, Seatholder: "It may sound strange but I think that wet conditions were actually good for us. We know that Erik is good but he is still learning and wet conditions might have helped to compensate lacking experience. As far as the races are concerned, we want to finish. We are in a good position especially for the Feature race and with smooth stops can get a reasonable result."