Double pole for Neel Jani

Double pole for Neel Jani

12.04.2008: Double pole for Neel Jani

A1GP live in Switzerland via SSF - Schweizer Sport Fernsehen, Sky Sport Italia or EuroSport France!

SSF - Schweizer Sport Fernsehen by Star TV: 9:00 (live)
Sky Sport Italia: 8:00 (live)
EuroSport France: 20:45 (delayed)

A perfect situation to start from in Shanghai

Neel Jani has secured himself a perfect situation to start from in Sunday's two races of the A1GP series in Shanghai. The Swiss claimed pole position for both the sprint and the feature race.

In both qualifying sessions, Jani was in a class of his own. In the two sessions, he outpaced his rivals by almost half a second. In the battle for the grid positions in the sprint race, Portugal came closest to him with Filipe Albuquerque. For the feature race, USA's Jonathan Summerton will be lining up alongside Jani on the starting grid.

For New Zealand, runner-up in the points' standings with four races to go, 15 points down on Switzerland, Jonny Reid will be starting from fifth and seventh place respectively. Franck Montagny's performance for France, third in the standings, 20 points behind Switzerland, was an outright disappointment. The former F1 driver, who took part on seven Grands Prix for Syper Aguri-Honda in 2006, had to make do with 18th and 10th place.

Team principal Max Welti was excited with Jani's performance. "That was the best Neel I have ever seen. There are a few people that always kept his face in him. I am one of them. The two pole-positions are also the result of highly effective team work. The way in which Neel and the technicians are working together is impressive. After first practice on Friday, which wasn't easy for us, we started looking for a solution and we adopted it consequently. Therefore, this qualifying result is a great reward for all of us."

Welti admits to being cautiously optimistic concerning the championship standings. "We have got ourselves the basis in order to further improve our situation in the battle for the title. Certainly, this was a first important step in the direction we want." After the two races at Shanghai, there are only two rounds remaining during the season finale at Brands Hatch (GB) early May.

After the first part of qualifying for the sprint, Jani was still third. One of the key factors that enabled him to step up to the top position, was changing the front springs. "I am particularly happy that that helped us to improve", the 24-year old said. "After all, it was me who made the decision to change. From then on, I was half a second faster than the others all the time."

Shanghai is hosting the A1GP series for the third time. For Jani, however, the trip to the booming city is like a premiere. In 2006 and 2007, he had to miss out on the event due to clashing commitments in Formula 1 and Champ Cars respectively. The most part of track, which has hosted the Chinese Formula 1 Grand Prix since 2004, is familiar to Jani.

In September 2006, he took part as a test driver for the Toro Rosso Formula 1 team in the test sessions on Friday. For the A1GP races, the 5.4 kilometres long track was shortened by 800 metres. Three corners have been left out, an additional chicane has been included. "Surely, it was helpful that I already know the major part of the track. On the other hand, driving an A1 car is more difficult than a Formula 1 car. The A1 car is sliding significantly more."

Shanghai (China). A1GP (Nations' Cup of motorsport). Qualifying (22 participants). Starting grid for the sprint race: 1 Switzerland (Neel Jani) 1:34 .163 (175.6 km/h). 2 Portugal (Filipe Albuquerque) 0.450 seconds down. 3 Canada (Robert Wickens) 0.519. 4 India (Narain Karthikeyan) 0.525. 5 New Zealand (Jonny Reid) 0.579. 6 USA (Jonathan Summerton) 0.628. 7 Malaysia (Alex Yoong) 0.687. 8 Ireland (Adam Carroll) 0.765. 9 Germany (Michael Ammermüller) 0.849. 10 Great Britain (Robbie Kerr) 0.852. 11 South Africa (Adrian Zaugg) 1.035. Further: 18 France (Franck Montagny) 1.626.

Starting grid for the feature race: 1 Switzerland 1:34.172 (175.8 km/h). 2 USA 0.454. 3 Portugal 0.850. 4 Ireland 0,863. 5 India 1.023. 6 Malaysia 1.035. 7 New Zealand 1.111. 8 Great Britain 1.185. 9 South Africa 1.220. 10 France 1.324.

Final practice: 1. France 1:35.470. 2. Switzerland 0.086. 3. Italy (Edoardo Poscopo) 0.233. 4. New Zealand 0.364. 5. Great Britain 0.570. 6. Portugal 0.589. 7. Canada 0,612. 8. Germany 0.616. 9. India 0.687. 10. China (Fu Cheng Cong) 0.852. Further: 14. South Africa 1.182. -- 22 nations.

Further programme. Sunday. 11.00 - 11.20 (05.00 - 05.20): sprint (flying start/10 laps). 15.00 - 16.10 (09.00 - 10.10): Feature race (standing start/38 laps).

A1 Nations' Cup. Standings after 16 of 20 rounds: 1. Switzerland 128. 2. New Zealand 113. 3. France 108. 4. Great Britain 95. 6. South Africa 85. 6. Netherlands 80. 7. Germany 77. 8. Ireland 73. 9. Canada 62. 10. China 45. -- 22 nations.

Television. Sunday. Swiss sports television SSF (at the STAR TV channel): from 09.00 CET live. -- Premiere: from 08.45 live. -- Sky Sport Italia: from 08.00 live. -- Eurosport France: from 20.45.

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A1 Team Switzerland

A1 Team Switzerland is a Swiss-based international racing team entering its third year of racing in the A1 GP series. After 11 events and 22 races around the world, A1 Team Switzerland finished the inaugural A1GP season as runners-up, winning from pole position in Dubai. Neel Jani won the sprint race and the feature race from the pole in Malaysia 2007-2008.

The drivers racing for their country in 2007-2008, for the third consecutive season will be Neel Jani and Sebastien Buemi as well as two lady rookie drivers, Rahel Frey and Natacha Gachnang who participated successfully to a shootout event at Silverstone in September 2007 and have the chance to represent their national team. 20-year old Alexandre Imperatori will be the Team's rookie in Zhuhai.

 

A1 Team Switzerland's selected best results

Sprint race: 3 x 1st - Malaysia 2006/2007 and 07/08(Neel Jani) and Dubai 2005/2006 (Neel Jani)

Feature race: 3 x 2nd 05/06 S.Africa (Neel Jani), Malaysia (Neel Jani), Port. (Neel Jani) and one win Malaysia 2007-2008 (Neel Jani)

Leading the Championship with 128 points in the 2007-2008 season and seven podiums:(3rd) in Zandvoort - NL,(3rd) Brno - CZ, two wins in Sepang - Malaysia, (2nd) Zhuhai - CHN, (2nd) Eastern Creek - AUS, (3rd & 1st) Durban - RSA, (3rd) Mexico City (MEX)

 

- Michael Schneider - photos A1GP
photos will be on automobilsport.com under PHOTOS - A1GP Series

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12.04.2008 / MaP

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