A1Team GBR endures electrical issues ahead of Kyalami qualifying

A1Team GBR endures electrical issues ahead of Kyalami qualifying

21.02.2009: A1 Team Great Britain will begin tomorrowís Sprint race from 13th and the Feature from 10th after suffering technical problems in practice Danny Watts was in action today for A1 Team Great Britain at A1GP Gauteng, the fifth round of the 2008/09 A1GP Worl

A1 Team Great Britain will begin tomorrow’s Sprint race from 13th and the Feature from 10th after suffering technical problems in practice

Danny Watts was in action today for A1 Team Great Britain at A1GP Gauteng, the fifth round of the 2008/09 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport at the Kyalami GP Circuit, near Johannesburg in South Africa. The day began with three practice sessions for GBR. The British squad was one of five cars that did not make it onto the Kyalami track for the Friday practice sessions due to a technical issue beyond the teams’ control.

With Kyalami sitting 2000-feet above sea level, A1GP has had to introduce new parts to the cars’ fuel systems to combat the high altitude. Unfortunately, the additional parts were not available to be fitted in time to these five cars. To ensure a level playing field, A1GP organisers scheduled extra practice sessions for those teams affected.

Danny was performing well in the first session of the day, running second on the timesheets. He was pushing to find the limits when he spun off track ten minutes before the end of the session, necessitating a nosecone change. Electrical problems were then discovered with the car, and the team worked hard throughout the morning to resolve them. Danny was able to get out for the last twenty minutes of the third and final practice in order to get in some crucial laps ahead of qualifying.

For qualifying, the series have reintroduced the PowerBoost ‘joker’ concept, which allows the PowerBoost button to be used for one lap of the four available in qualifying (two for Sprint and two for Feature). This gives the drivers an extra 60bhp for that lap. GBR opted to save its PowerBoost until the fourth and final session, when the track would be at its optimum condition.

In Sprint race qualifying, Danny set his fastest time of 1:29.730 on the second of his two laps and at the chequered flag, he was 13th fastest, lining up on the seventh row of the grid. He set a time of 1:29.092 in the first Feature race qualifying and was set to record his best lap in the second segment as he had his PowerBoost to use. Unfortunately, the Brazil car crashed, causing a red flag before Danny had set his lap. With the session finished, GBR had to settle for tenth position and a fifth row Feature race start.
Danny Watts
: ”Our strategy was to put all our eggs in one basket for the last run while I got more mileage with the car due to our problems in practice. Unfortunately we didn’t get to finish the lap, but we’ve got to take the positives and that is that the car has improved a lot, it’s much more driveable and I’ve got much more experience of the circuit. It’s been a difficult testing day for us but we are so strong as a team that I’m sure we’ll bounce back tomorrow and we’re looking forward to it.”

Katie Clements, Team Principal:
“It’s been a fairly frustrating day in terms of our limited track time but, once again, we’ve gone out and performed well in qualifying. It’s a real shame we didn’t get to put in the last lap as I’m sure we would have scored a good result. We’re focusing on tomorrow now and are eager to get racing.”

Practice 1 (Saturday AM - Rookie)

Laps: 13
Position: 2nd
Fastest Lap: 1:31.743 (+1.620)

Practice 2 (Saturday AM)

Laps: N/A
Position: N/A
Fastest Lap: N/A

Free Practice 3

Laps: 12
Position: 18th 
Fastest Lap: 1:30.250 (+2.122)

A1GP Round 5 Sprint Race Qualifying

1. Netherlands 1:27.717
2. Portugal +0.355
3. Switzerland +0.436
13. Great Britain +1.850

A1GP Round 5 Feature Race Qualifying

1. Monaco 1: 27.269
2. Malaysia +0.136
3. New Zealand +0.300
10. Great Britain +1.823

Sunday’s 25-minute Sprint race starting at 1100 local time (0900 GMT) and the 70-minute Feature race beginning at 1500 (1300 GMT). Sky Sports 2 will broadcast all the live racing action from 1130 Sunday 22 February. Five will broadcast the highlights package at 0225 on Wednesday 25 February.

- Rebecca Banks, Victoria Henley-  photo A1GP

More photos will be on automobilsport.com under PHOTOS-ECARDS A1GP and PHOTOS SLIDESHOWS

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21.02.2009 / MaP

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