Danny Watts storms to pole for A1 Team GBR in Chengdu

08.11.2008: Danny Watts storms to pole for A1 Team GBR in Chengdu

On his debut for A1 Team GBR, Danny Watts has secured pole position for tomorrow’s Feature race in Chengdu, China, round two of the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport.

A1 Team Great Britain’s Danny Watts will line up on pole position for tomorrow’s Feature race in Chengdu, China, after a blistering lap in today’s qualifying session. He will be on the second row for the Sprint race after setting the fourth fastest time in Sprint qualifying. It is a brilliant result for the team on its return to A1GP after missing the first round of the season in Zandvoort.

After stepping into the team’s car for the first time on Friday morning, Danny has been using his impressive single-seater experience, which includes beating Lewis Hamilton to the 2002 Formula Renault Championship, to dial quickly into the new car and to learn the circuit. He has been competitive all weekend so far, consistently performing well in the practice sessions, the final of which he drove this morning, finishing third fastest behind Robert Doornbos in the Netherlands car and Ireland’s Adam Carroll.

It the afternoon’s qualifying, it was Ireland and the Netherlands, along with Switzerland, that proved to be GBR’s biggest competitors, and it all promises to provide some thrilling racing in the Sprint and Feature events tomorrow. In each of qualifying slots, GBR opted to head out right at the end of the ten minute sessions to get the track at its optimum temperature and grip levels.

Danny fought hard in Sprint qualifying 1, setting the fourth fastest time on his first attempt at the championship’s unique one-lap format. He was aiming to improve in the second segment, but this was cancelled after Italy crashed and so the grid was set from the times in the first session.

In the first Feature qualifying segment, Danny set an incredible lap of 1:15.325, the fastest time of the weekend to take provisional pole. No-one could touch the time in the second session, thereby guaranteeing GBR the pole on its first race weekend of season four. Ireland’s Adam Carroll will join Danny on the front row, bringing the prospect of exciting race action between the former British Formula 3 rivals.

Danny Watts: "It has been an amazing few days. We really are lucky to be here as just a few days ago the car was still in bits. All credit has to go to the team and I thank them for their hard work. They have worked through the night since they arrived in China and they’ve only had four hours sleep the last two nights, so this makes it all worth it.

The car was running fantastic all through qualifying and I’m happy to have the pole and fourth for the Sprint. I’ve been trying to help the team as much as I can, being a new driver, but luckily the whole package has come together very nicely. We’ve just got to focus on tomorrow now, go for it and see what happens."

 

Katie Clements, Team Principal: "We couldn’t have asked for more after the challenges we have had and on behalf of the whole team I can say we are absolutely delighted. I have to pay tribute to the team’s hard work in getting the car ready and Danny has stepped in and done a fantastic job for us.

This is only part of the battle though and the competition is fierce. I’m sure tomorrow is going to see some thrilling racing and we will do all we can to make sure we get the best possible result."

 

A1GP Round 2 Sprint Race Qualifying

1. Ireland 1:15.423

2. Netherlands +0.069

3. Switzerland +0.260

 

A1GP Round 2 Feature Race Qualifying

1. Great Britain 1:15.325

2. Ireland +0.031

3. Portugal +0.075

Sunday’s 25-minute Sprint race will start at 1100 local time (0300 GMT) with the 70-minute Feature race beginning at 1500 local time (0700 GMT). Sky Sports will broadcast all the live action from Chengdu, China, from 0530 on Sunday 9 November on Sky Sports Xtra.

 

-Rebecca Banks-

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/a1-team-gbr-danny-watts-pole-a1gp-chengdu-china-katie-clements---47212.html

08.11.2008 / MaP

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