ATCC: Everland Speedway, Korea qualifying report

Everland Speedway Circuit, Korea Saturday 22 September 2001 AF2000 Qualifying Day Action! The AFOS competitors woke up this morning to a cold morning, but it was soon heated up as they scorched the track for this morning's Round 11 AFOS and...

Everland Speedway Circuit, Korea
Saturday 22 September 2001

AF2000 Qualifying Day Action!

The AFOS competitors woke up this morning to a cold morning, but it was soon heated up as they scorched the track for this morning's Round 11 AFOS and ATCC qualifying sessions.

First out were the AF2000 boys, and as expected, the SMR Team India boys occupied the front of the grid for tomorrow's Round 11 race. Asif Nazir lead the time with a blistering 1:05.847, followed by teammate Karun Chandhok with a time of 1:06.356.

"Grip on the track has definitely improved," said Asif. "It is definitely faster than it was for the past few days. I only had one clean fast lap because of traffic, so I think I can go faster in the second qualifying session later," he added. "I had a good sleep last night, so maybe that's why I was very quick this morning!" he quipped after the post-race Press Conference.

Karun said, "I'm still getting used to this car." Karun was involved in a big crash on Thursday, and had to use the spare car for the rest of the weekend. "I had no chance to test the car on new tyres earlier yesterday, but I feel my mechanics and engineers did a fantastic job. They were up the whole night getting the spare car ready, so I'm really happy for that."

Behind the two SMR Team India boys are Team Meritus driver Meckel Ali, and Denis Lian in 4th in the EZ Import.com AF2000 car. "It's a good qualifying session. Like Asif, I had some trouble with traffic, but the car's running fine this morning, and I hope to clock a better time later in the second qualifying session.

In the Round 12 qualifying session, Karun managed to outdrive his teammate Asif, claiming pole in style. In the process, Asif is now even further away from winning the championship, as he effectively lost one crucial point given out to pole position starters in the series.

"I'm really happy about being here today, and am feeling more confident now. The car's going great, and although I admit it is not going to be an easy race to win tomorrow, with a slow circuit like Everland, coupled with the many different gradients. It's going to be interesting," said Karun.

Asif was obviously disappointed with his qualifying, and means he's got to work doubly hard to keep his championship hopes alive. "There was just a lot of traffic on the circuit today, and that slowed me down. I made a mistake in the first few laps I was out when traffic was better, so I'm disappointed."

Denis Lian in the Team EZ Import.com car did not manage to improve on his time or position, but is optimistic he will do better tomorrow once his car is properly sorted out. "We experimented with the set up yesterday and the day before, but obviously it's not working out. So it's back to square one," he said.

It would be interesting to see how the outcome of this battle will unfold tomorrow. <pre> Results P NO Name/Nat Best Lap Lap Team

Qualifying Results - Asian Formula 2000 Round 11

1.      70      Asif NAZIR  (IND)               1:05.847        4       SMR Team India JK Tyres
2.      5       Karun CHANDHOK (IND)            1:06.356        12      SMR Team India JK Tyres
3.      1       Meckel ALI  (IND)               1:06.657        14      Team Meritus
4.      50      Denis LIAN (SIN)                1:06.718        17      Team EZ Import.com
5.      51      Henry LEE Jr (HK)               1:07.156        11      Ghiasports Racing

Qualifying Results - Asian Touring Car Championship Round 12

1.      5       Karun CHANDHOK (IND)            1:05.844        9       SMR Team India JK Tyres
2.      70      Asif NAZIR (IND)                1:06.066        14      SMR Team India JK Tyres
3.      1       Meckel ALI  (IND)               1:06.638        4       Team Meritus
4.      50      Denis LIAN (SIN)                1:06.987        4       Team EZ Import.com
5.      51      Henry LEE Jr (HK)               1:07.434        8       Ghiasports Racing

-AFOS-

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Series General
Drivers Denis Lian