A difficult start for A1 Team Switzerland at Sepang

22.11.2008: A difficult start for A1 Team Switzerland at Sepang

Neel Jani second in practice in spite of clutch, engine and brake problems

A1 Team Switzerland was faced with technical troubles at Sepang (Malaysia). An immediate clutch problem could be solved temporarily before practice started. Neel Jani had to make do with nine laps but still posted the second-fastest time.

The clutch that didn’t work had kept the mechanics busy all night from Thursday to Friday. The car wasn’t available for the morning rookie practice session. The duties that were scheduled for Alexandre Imperatori, especially running-in the brakes, therefore remained uncompleted.

"We have a difficult day behind us", said Neel Jani. "Along with the clutch problem came other difficulties. At the start of practice, the engine misfired and the brakes worked only for a little bit more than 50 percent. We just had no time to find a workable set-up. In these conditions, we can be happy with what we have achieved. But we have a lot of work to do before qualifying."

Team principal Max Welti was very positive about engineer James Robinson and his crew who put in an unplanned night shift: "I would like to thank my team and the specialists from Ferrari and Magneti Marelli for their huge effort. In order to solve the problem, they had to take the rear axle out and put it back in again ten times or so. The so-called actuator turned out to be the part that caused the problem. James and his crew found a makeshift solution. I really hope that we can get the problem solved before Saturday."

One year ago, A1 Team Switzerland had achieved the best possible result at Sepang: pole position for both the sprint and the feature race, two race wins and the fastest race lap on each occasion.

Sepang (Malaysia). A1GP World Cup of Motorsport. First practice: 1. Great Britain (Danny Watts) 1: 50,038 (181.3 km/h). 2. Switzerland (Neel Jani) 0.072 seconds down. 3. India (Narain Karthikeyan) 0.149. 4. France (Loïc Duval) 0.239. 5. Netherlands (Jeroen Bleekemolen) 0.325. 6. Portugal (Filipe Albuquerque) 0.366. 7. Ireland (Adam Carroll) 0.521. 8. New Zealand (Earl Bamber) 0.545. 9. Monaco (Clivio Piccione) 0.580. 10. Malaysia (Fairuz Fauzy) 0,582. 11. Lebanon (Daniel Morad) 0.924. 12. China (Ho-Pin Tung) 1.253. 13. USA (Marco Andretti) 1.320. 14. South Africa (Adrian Zaugg) 1.401. 15. Brazil (Felipe Guimarães) 1.482. 16. Australia (John Martin) 1.604. 17. Mexico (David Garza) 1.737. 18. Italy (Edoardo Piscopo) 1.916. 19. Indonesia (Satrio Hermanto) 2.368. -- Korea (Jin-Woo Hwang) no time.

Rookies: 1. France (Nicolas Prost) 1:50.679. 2. Great Britain (Watts) 0.417 seconds down. 3. New Zealand (Bamber) 0.61. 4. Malaysia (Aaron Lim) 1.136. 5. Italy (Stefano Coletti) 1.160. 6. Lebanon (Morad) 1.329. 7. India (Aarmaan Ebrahim) 1.526. 8. USA (John R. Hildebrand Jr.) 1.646. – Switzerland (Alexandre Imperatori) no time (gearbox problems). -- 17 nations.

PROGRAMME. Saturday. 11.00 - 12.00 (04.00 - 05.00): practice. 14.15 - 15.10 (07.15 - 08.10): qualifying. -- Sunday. 11.00 - 11.30 (04.00 - 04.30): sprint (rolling start). 15.00 - 16.10 (08.00 - 09.10): feature race (standing start).

A1GP WORLD CUP OF MOTORSPORT. Standings after four of 20 rounds: 1. Malaysia 28. 2. Ireland 23. 3. France 23. 4. New Zealand 20. 5. Netherlands 20. 6. Portugal 18. 7. Switzerland 17. 8. Great Britain 16. 9. Australia 13. 10. South Africa 9. 11. Monaco 9. 12. USA 6. 13. Korea 4. 14. Lebanon 3. 15. Italy 2. 16. China 2. 17. India 1. -- 20 nations.

TELEVISION. Schweizer Sportfernsehen SSF (STAR TV channel): Sunday, 20.00 - 22.00 CET. -- Teleclub: 07.45 live. -- Premiere: Sunday, 16.45. -- NT1: Sunday, 15.00. -- AB Moteurs: Saturday, 14.00 and Sunday, 14.00. -- RaiSportPiù: Sunday, 14.00.


- Michael Schneider-  photo A1GP

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22.11.2008 /

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