Switzerland totally focussing on title in world cup of motorsport

Switzerland totally focussing on title in world cup of motorsport

03.05.2008: Switzerland totally focussing on title in world cup of motorsport

Neel Jani fourth in first practice at Brands Hatch without any risk

A1GP on Swiss TV

Schweizer Sportfernsehen SSF (on the STAR TV channel): Sunday, 15.30 CET live. -- Premiere: Sunday, 19.45; replays on Monday, 11.30 and 20.45

Sky Sport Italia: Sunday, 15.00 live

Eurosport France: Monday, 00.01.

In first practice for the season finale in the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport at Brands Hatch (UK), Switzerland ended up fourth with Neel Jani among 22 drivers. This is encouraging with respect to the decision in the battle for the title on Sunday. Going into the final two races, Switzerland has a margin of 29 points over New Zealand.

Neel Jani was 0.411 seconds down on the fastest driver of the day, Briton Robbie Kerr. The only other countries quicker than Switzerland were China (with Cong Fu Cheng) and the USA (Jonathan Summerton), who, just like Great Britain, donít play a role in the race for the title anymore. New Zealand, the only country that can still be a threat to Switzerland, didnít get on the pace yet either as Jonny Reid had to make do with eighth place. For him, the situation isnít very promising anyway: even when he wins both races and sets the fastest race lap while doing so, Switzerland only needs four points, for instance for a seventh-place finish either in the sprint or in the feature race.

"We are happy with the results of the first day", team principal, Max Welti reported. "Neel Jani didnít push it, like he had planned. He has focussed on the set-up of the car instead. Here, we canít take any risks and therefore we have set other priorities for once. For us, Brands Hatch is not about race wins, but about winning the title. Today, Neel has impressed me with his calm and collected way and his professional approach in developing the car. In any case, I am positive."

Neel Jani judged his results to date as "average" and compared first practice with that in Shanghai: "After it didnít totally work out initially, we have made some good progress later on. The car was a little bit nervous all the time, but I am sure that we will get that fixed until Sunday."

In the rookie practice session, Alexandre Imperatori did a good job for the team. All in all, the driver ended up being fifth fastest from 18 drivers. "Technical preparations of the car went according to plan", said Max Welti. "Alex could have been quicker towards the end of the second session, had he not been held up in traffic. The most important thing is that he brought the car back in one piece after the 27 laps."

Brands Hatch (Eng). A1GP World Cup of Motorsport. First practice: 1. Great Britain (Robbie Kerr) 1:14.891 (178.002 km/h). 2. China (Cong Fu Cheng) 0.239 seconds down. 3. USA (Jonathan Summerton) 0.325. 4. Switzerland (Neel Jani) 0.411. 5. Ireland (Adam Carroll) 0.417. 6. India (Narain Karthikeyan) 0.448. 7. Netherlands (Jeroen Bleekemolen) 0.449. 8. New Zealand (Jonny Reid) 0.465. 9. Portugal (Filipe Albuquerque) 0.486. 10. France (Franck Montagny) 0.568. 11. Czech Republic (Filip Salaquarda) 0.586. 12. South Africa (Adrian Zaugg) 0.764. -- 22 nations.
 

Rookies. 1st part: 1. New Zealand (Chris van der Drift) 1:16.134. 2. Portugal (Albuquerque) 0.179 seconds down. 3. Switzerland (Alexandre Imperatori) 0.294. 4. Czech Republic (Salaquarda) 0.556. 5. Ireland (Niall Quinn) 0.638. 6. Canada (Daniel Morad) 0.682. 7. South Africa (Wesleigh Orr) 0.964. 8. Brazil (Alexandre Negr„o) 1.191. 9. Great Britain (James Winslow) 1.313. 10. Australia (Nathan Antunes) 1.349. Ė

2nd part: 1. New Zealand 1:16.102. 2. Portugal 0.001. 3. Czech Republic 0.115. 4. South Africa 0.337. 5. Switzerland 0.354. 6. Ireland 0,409. 7. Brazil 0.502. 8. Australia 0.657. 9. Canada 0.766. 10. Great Britain 0.837. -- 18 nations.
 

Further programme. Saturday. 11.00 - 12.00 (12.00 - 13.00): training. 14.15 - 15.30 (15.15 - 16.30): qualifying. -- Sunday. 11.00 - 11.20 (12.00 - 12.20): sprint (flying start). 14.30 - 15.40 (15.30 - 16.40): feature race (standing start).

A1GP World Cup of Motorsport. Standings after 18 of 20 rounds: 1. Switzerland 150. 2. New Zealand 121. 3. France 111. 4. Great Britain 99. 5. South Africa 92. 6. Germany 83. 7. Ireland 83. 8. Netherlands 80. 9. Canada 75. 10. Portugal 50. 11. China 46. 12. USA 44. -- 22 nations.

Internet voting. Via the internet (at www.a1gp.com under the A1 TEAM VOTE section) the A1GP fans can vote for the most popular team of the season. Next to the title, the Swiss national team also wants to win this "sympathy ranking" and asks its friends to take part in the voting. Votes can be submitted until Sunday evening. 

 

- Michael Schneider -  photos A1GP

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03.05.2008 / MaP

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