Felipe Massa joins A1 Team Brazil for Kyalami Qualifying
21.02.2009: Under the watchful eye of Ferrari’s Felipe Massa, A1 Team Brazil’s very own Felipe – Guimarães – today qualified in 14th and 8th positions respectively for tomorrow’s Sprint and Feature races at the Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit. A1GP Gauteng in Johannesburg
Under the watchful eye of Ferrari’s Felipe Massa, A1 Team Brazil’s very own Felipe – Guimarães – today qualified in 14th and 8th positions respectively for tomorrow’s Sprint and Feature races at the Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit. A1GP Gauteng in Johannesburg, South Africa is the fifth round of the 2008/09 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport.
For qualifying, the series have reintroduced the PowerBoost ‘joker’ concept, which allows the PowerBoost button to be used for one lap of the four available in qualifying (two for Sprint and two for Feature). This gives the drivers an extra 60bhp and so it is a gamble for the team to decide on its strategy of which qualifying they opt to use it in.
Felipe did not use the PowerBoost In qualifying for the Sprint race, and set his fastest time of 1:29.726 on the first of his two laps, taking 14th position at the end of the session, setting himself up on the seventh row for tomorrow morning’s race. Felipe set a time of 1:28.878 in the first segment of Feature race qualifying, putting himself in provisional fifth place.
He saved his PowerBoost lap until the end and pushing hard, after a very strong first sector, he lost the rear of the car going into the esses, crashing heavily backwards into the tyre wall. The accident put a stop to qualifying, however, with only three cars managing to better Felipe’s first segment time, he will begin the afternoon race from the fourth row of the grid in eighth place.
The team was joined for qualifying by Brazilian Ferrari star, and 2008 F1 World Championship runner-up, Felipe Massa, who watched the sessions from the pitwall with Team Principal, and two-time F1 World Champion, Emerson Fittipaldi. It was Massa’s first visit to an A1GP event and his first opportunity to see the new A1GP Powered by Ferrari cars in action.
He also took the opportunity to drive a hot lap of Kyalami in the A1GP Ferrari 599 safety car. After qualifying Massa commented: “It’s really interesting visiting A1GP, it’s a nice organisation and I’ve enjoyed seeing the quality of the new car, it’s really nice. It was a shame for Felipe in last qualifying, but this can happen. As drivers we are always on the limit and that is what he was doing.” Felipe Guimarães: “This is our best qualifying result in the feature race this season but we should have been in the top four. I am looking at the positives because we were fast throughout. The last lap was looking really good and I was very happy after the first sector. Then I just carried too much speed into the corner, lost the rear and that was it. We’ve got some hard work to fix the car but I will go out and do my best for the team tomorrow.” Emerson Fittipaldi, Team Principal: “Felipe was on the maximum power on the final lap, using PowerBoost. He was very quick on the first sector and we were looking to finish in a strong position with a good time, but unfortunately he lost the car on the quick esses. We are just thankful that he is not injured because we can always repair the car. We have a great team of people and we are eighth on the grid for the Feature race so I hope tomorrow will be a good day for us.”
Sprint Race Qualifying 1. Netherlands 1:27.717 2. Portugal +0.355 3. Switzerland +0.436 14. Brazil +2.009
Feature Race Qualifying 1) Monaco 1: 27.269 2) Malaysia +0.136 3) New Zealand +0.300 8) Brazil +1.609
Live video, live timing and text updates right from the track on www.a1gp.com
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