Promising practice as A1 Team GBR hit the track in Taupo

Promising practice as A1 Team GBR hit the track in Taupo

18.01.2008: Promising practice as A1 Team GBR hit the track in Taupo

Robbie Kerr and James Winslow were in action for A1 Team GBR today as the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport series moved to Taupo, New Zealand. The British squad currently lies fourth in the Championship, and Robbie Kerr is determined to score some strong points for the team. In preparation for what are sure to be two thrilling races on Sunday, teams first hit the track today in two practice sessions.

Driving for A1 Team GBR were James Winslow, who drove in the morning’s 50-minute rookie practice, and Robbie Kerr, who took the wheel for the afternoon session. It was 26-year-old Winslow’s first taste of the A1GP car and his first visit to the Taupo circuit this morning. James, who won the 2007 Formula Asia V6 by Renault series, was one of very few drivers to make his debut in the car at this race.

After acquainting himself with the 3.5km circuit on the edge of Lake Taupo, James went on to work on a programme which included an engine installation and bedding brakes, and was able to put some good laps in towards the end of the session. The practice was good preparation for James’ next outing at Eastern Creek in Australia, where he has track experience and will be able to push harder. Back in the car for the first time since the Brno weekend last October, during which he scored a second place podium in the Sprint race, Kerr took the wheel for this afternoon’s one-hour practice.

After almost three months out of cockpit, the aim of the initial laps were for Robbie to get a feel of the car and to learn the reconfigured turn 12, a slight layout change to the circuit from last year. Following that Robbie moved on to developing the set-up but limited laps to save tyres as the team was happy with the overall performance of the car. The team’s focus now shifts to tomorrow when Robbie will have the benefit of one final hour of practice before embarking on the afternoon’s all-important qualifying.

Viewers of Sky Sports in the UK can watch the qualifying sessions live, with the expert opinion of A1 Team GBR’s Oliver Jarvis, who will be a guest in the studio on Saturday and Sunday.

Robbie Kerr: "It’s great to be back in the A1GP car again. We cannot complain about being sixth quickest in the practice session since I’ve been out of the car for over three months. We made a few changes during the session, which did help with performance, and I think we’re definitely looking good for the weekend. I’m sure with some other small changes, we’re going to find those few tenths that we’re after."

James Winslow: "It’s been a fantastic experience driving for Great Britain for the first time and a real honour to represent my country. Considering it was my first time in the car, I was happy with how the session went and thought we had a good run, finishing only 1.3 seconds off the likes of Adam Carroll (A1 Team IRL) who have had podium finishes in A1GP. The main purpose of the session was obviously to get all the jobs ticked off the list, but I’m sure when I drive the car for a second time at Eastern Creek, we’ll be quicker in the rookie session".

Katie Clements: "It’s been an encouraging start to GBR’s return to Taupo. James did a solid job in the rookie session, especially considering it was his debut both in the A1GP car and at Taupo, and obviously he has the honour of being the first Brit to drive the bio-fuel car for the team.

We’re pleased with Robbie’s performance, and he proved to be immediately on the pace after his initial laps on the revised track. We know the direction we’re going in tomorrow and are feeling quietly confident ahead of qualifying."

Saturday’s qualifying starts at 1415 local time (0115 GMT) with Sunday’s 20 minute Sprint race starting at 1100 local time (Saturday 2200 GMT) and the 70 minute Feature race starting at 1500 local time (0200 GMT).

Sky Sports will broadcast all the live action from Taupo, from 1am on Saturday 19 January on Sky Sports 1 and from 1am on Sunday 20 January on Sky Sports 2.

GBR - Rookie Practice (James Winslow) Laps: 25 Position: 12th Fastest Lap: 1:18.419 (+1.349) GBR - Free Practice 2 (Robbie Kerr) Laps: 19 Position: 6th Fastest Lap: 1:16.027 (+0.482)

A1 Team Great Britain is partnered by AquaSP, Playseats and Visit Britain.

www.a1teamgbr.com  

 

- Victoria Henley, photos A1GP -

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/a1-team-gbr-taupo-new-zealand-james-winslow-robbie-kerr-katie-clements---31889.html

18.01.2008 / MaP

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