Neel Jani affected by technical problems

Neel Jani affected by technical problems

06.10.2008: Neel Jani affected by technical problems

Two podium places would have been within reach in the rain at Zandvoort

The opening round of the season in the World Cup of Motorsport was dominated by the bad weather. The rain-soaked track at Zandvoort took the toll from several drivers. In the sprint, 11 of the 17 drivers who had started made it to the finish, while the feature race only had six drivers making it home. Both races had to be started behind the safety car.

The Swiss team wasn't a direct victim of the adverse conditions, but still had to make do with four points for finishing fifth in the sprint race. In the feature race, Neel Jani retired on lap five. The car, which was made available to Switzerland by Team Pakistan, had a good handling at the start of both races. In the morning, Jani only lost contact to the front runners in the closing stages. In the feature race, the gearbox electronics soon gave up.

"Both times I had a good start into the race after the safety car pulled in", Jani reported. "In the sprint, I was soon able to overtake some opponents and put New Zealand and The Netherlands under pressure. The more water there was on the track, the more difficulties I had with the car that started understeering more and more. Finally, I settled for fifth place."

In the morning, weather conditions already had become extraordinarily bad. Hardly any driver remained unaffected by minor or major incidents. For six drivers, the rain battle ended with an accident. Neel Jani didn't come out without his share of trouble either: on lap eight, he dropped back to fifth behind France after a driving error, soon after he had been overtaken by eventual race winner Malaysia in the battle for third.

Jani deliberately backed off in the opening stages of the feature race, but didn't drop back. Quite the contrary: there soon was a gap behind the fifth-placed Swiss. "But then, it suddenly was all over", Jani reported. "On lap four, the gearbox was stuck in fifth, probably because of electronic problems. When I recall it well, this was our first retirement for technical reasons."

Max Welti talked about "the end of the world", but with that, he referred to the weather rather than to the performance of his team in The Netherlands. "When I take a look at the results of both races, I come to the conclusion that we would have been able to finish on the podium twice had our car worked well.

In the sprint, Neel suddenly became three seconds a lap slower. A possible explanation is the tyre pressure that dropped. The problem with the gearshift in the feature race was just bad luck. For 40 minutes, we tried to solve the problem in the pits to be able to drive some more laps, but we didn't find the problem."

Zandvoort (Netherlands). A1GP (World Cup of Motorsport). Sprint: 1. Malaysia (Fairuz Fauzy) 19:44.533. 2. New Zealand (Earl Bamber) 3.474 seconds down. 3. France (Loïc Duval) 6.270. 4. Netherlands (Jeroen Bleekemolen) 13.433. 5. Switzerland (Neel Jani) 16.896. 6. South Africa (Adrian Zaugg) 20.925. 7. Italy (Fabio Onidi) 22.214. 8. USA (Charlie Kimball) 24.150. 9. Portugal (Filipe Albuquerque) 29.427. 10. Lebanon (Daniel Morad) 38.929. 11. Australia (John Martin) 1: 27.471. 12. one lap down: China (Ho-Pin Tung). 13. Brazi (Felipe Guimarães). 14. seven laps down: Korea (Jin Woo Hwang). 15. eight laps down: Indonesia(Satrio Hermanto). 16. Ireand (Adam Carroll). 17. nine laps down: Monaco (Clivio Piccione). -- 17 drivers started, 11 at the finish. - Fastest lap: France with 1:45.939. -- Remarks: Start behind the safety car, stopped after 13 of 14 laps because of heavy rain, classification after ten laps..

Feature race (36 laps of 4.63 km): 1. France 1:11:58.723. 2. Malaysia 2.288 seconds down. 3. New Zealand 2.709. 4. Australia 6.329. 5. Netherlands 8.273. 6. two laps down: Monaco. 7. three laps down: Korea. 8. four laps down: Lebanon. 9. five laps down: China. 10. six laps down: USA. 11. 21 laps down: Portugal. 12. 24 laps down: Indonesia. 13. 31 laps down: South Africa. 14. Italy. 15. Brazil. 16. 32 laps down: Ireland. 17. Switzerland. -- 17 drivers started, 6 at the finish. - Fastest lap: USA with 1:47.115. -- Remarks: Race stopped after 36 of 40 laps because of having reached maximum time.

Standings (2/20): 1. Malaysia 22. 2. France 22. 3. New Zealand 18. 4. Netherlands 11. 5. Australia 8. 6. Monaco 5. 7. Switzerland 4. 8. Korea 4. 9. South Africa 3. 10. USA and Lebanon je 3. 12. Italy 2. 13. China 2.

Next race: November 9th, Chengdu (China).


- Michael Schneider-  photos A1GP


06.10.2008 / MaP

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