A1 GP SERIES - SHANGHAI: SHAKEDOWN FOR A1 TEAM.NZL

A1 GP SERIES - SHANGHAI: SHAKEDOWN FOR A1 TEAM.NZL

31.03.2006: A1 GP SERIES - SHANGHAI: SHAKEDOWN FOR A1 TEAM.NZL

The New Zealand A1 Grand Prix team is in the middle of the pack after the opening practice sessions at the Shanghai International Circuit for the 11 th and final round of the A1GP season.

Kiwi driver Matt Halliday hit the equal fastest topline speed through the speed trap, but experimentation was the order of the day as teams tried to balance speed with handling ahead of Sunday's Sprint Race and Feature Race.

Halliday clocked up 21 laps in the first official practice session, setting his fastest time on Lap 20 to end the opening hour with the 9 th best time.

Mexico, double winner at the last round in California, set the fastest time in the first session, with Malaysia, France, Ireland and Canada hot on their wheels.

Halliday, who had used a motor racing game on his Play Station to have his first good look at the circuit, spent another 19 laps on the actual track in the second session, setting the 11 th fastest time. The French, the dominant team in the inaugural A1 series, was the quickest in the day's second outing, nudging out Great Britain, Mexico, Australia and Malaysia in the standings.

The sessions were incident-free with no red flags in the warm, dry conditions.

A1 Team.NZL chief executive Bob McMurray said the team's focus was on testing different set-ups and he was comfortable with the day's effort.

"It's an amazing circuit, our practice went according to plan and we simply can't wait to finish the season with good performances on Sunday," McMurray said.

France (163 points) and Switzerland (121) are set in stone at the top of the A1GP championship ladder and Great Britain (88) would have to be horrendously unlucky to dip out on 3rd. Brazil (70), the Netherlands (69), New Zealand (67), Portugal (66) and Ireland (61) are all looking to finish as strongly as possible.

Tomorrow's final practice session will be followed by Qualifying over four quickfire segments.

Series Points to date – A1 Grand Prix of Nations

1   France 163
2   Switzerland 121
3   Great Britain 88
4   Brazil 70
5   Netherlands 69
6   New Zealand 67
7   Portugal 66
8   Ireland 61
9   Canada 55
10 Malaysia 54
11 Mexico 48#
12 Italy 44
13 Australia 41
14 Czech Republic 41
15 Germany 38
16 USA 22
17 South Africa 20
18 Austria 14
19 Indonesia 10
20 Japan8
21 China 6
22 Pakistan 4

 

- Bob McMurray -
photos are copyright and trademark A1 GP SERIES

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31.03.2006 / MaP

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