A1GP Team Switzerland just escapes disaster in Portugal

A1GP Team Switzerland just escapes disaster in Portugal

12.04.2009: Last grid position for sprint race, third place for feature race In qualifying for the two races of the World Cup of Motorsport in the Portuguese Algarve region, the Swiss A1GP team only just avoided a disaster.

Last grid position for sprint race, third place for feature race

In qualifying for the two races of the World Cup of Motorsport in the Portuguese Algarve region, the Swiss A1GP team only just avoided a disaster.

In the first and second qualifying heat, Neel Jani failed to complete one lap due to a red flag and a technical problem. As a result, he has to start from the back of the grid for the sprint race. Later on, Jani also had to miss out on the first attempt for the feature race. The Swiss team finally just avoided a real disaster. In the closing stages, Jani completed a lap that put him third on the grid for the feature race.

The first qualifying heat had to be interrupted after Chinese driver Tung had spun out. When the action resumed, there wasn’t enough time for Jani, as well as five other drivers, to complete a flying lap. In the second heat, the Swiss only completed a few hundred metres. The engine stalled unexpectedly due to a burned fuse of the main fuel pump, as the team found out later.

Once the Swiss car was finally delivered in the team’s pit box on a breakdown lorry, the first qualifying heat for the feature race was already underway and Jani was sidelined once again. At least, the car was ready again for the final heat. Jani showed his potential once again, setting a lap time that was only beaten by The Netherlands and Ireland in the end.

“In normal conditions, I would most probably have been on pole position”, said Neel Jani. “With all the bad luck that we encountered today, I am also very happy with third place. It will allow me to race for victory in the feature race. This will not be possible in the sprint race of only 25 minutes. We are still thinking about how we will go about in this race.”

For Max Welti, too, it is clear that Jani will not be able to do much in the sprint race.
“Therefore, our first goal will be having our car in good shape for the feature race”, the Swiss team principal explains. “When we succeed, there is no doubt for me that Neel will make it onto the podium and thus limit the damage. With his excellent lap at the end of qualifying, he has shown that he is at least par with his fiercest opponents from a driver’s point of view.”

Portimão/Algarve (SA). A1GP World Cup of Motorsport. Starting grid positions for the sprint race:
1 Italy (Vitantonio Liuzzi) 1:30.875 (185.872 km/h). 2 Netherlands (Robert Doornbos) 0.471 seconds down. 3 Ireland (Adam Carroll) 0.725. 4 Lebanon (Daniel Morad) 0.881. 5 Portugal (Filipe Albuquerque) 0.902. 6 New Zealand (Earl Bamber) 1.131. 7 Germany (André Lotterer) 1.209. 8 South Africa (Adrian Zaugg) 1.426. 9 India (Narain Karthikeyan) 1.483. 10 Monaco (Clivio Piccione) 1.545. 11 Malaysia (Fairuz Fauzy) 2.054. 12 USA (Marco Andretti) 2.339. 13 Great Britain (Daniel Clarke) 2.985. 14 Brazil (Felipe Guimarães) 3.110. 15 Indonesia (Zahir Ali) 3.130. 16 Mexico (Salvador Durán) 3.341. 17 Australia (John Martin) 3.530. 18 France (Nicolas Prost) 5.692. 19 China (Ho Pin Tung) 5.963. 20 Switzerland (Neel Jani) no time.

Starting grid positions for the feature race:
1 Netherlands 1:30.415 (186.818 km/h). 2 Ireland 0.281 seconds down. 3 Switzerland 0.463. 4 South Africa 0.569. 5 Brazil 0.608. 6 Malaysia 0.610. 7 Portugal 0.680. 8 USA 1.044. 9 Monaco 1,080. 10 Italy 1.437. 11 New Zealand 1.510. 12 Australia 1.524. 13 Mexico 1.616. 14 Germany 1.854. 15 Lebanon 1.937. 16 Great Britain 1.985. 17 India 2.089. 18 Indonesia 2.158. 19 France 2.526. 20 China 2.822.

Practice before qualifying:
1. Netherlands 1:30.115 (187.440 km/h). 2. Ireland 0.724 seconds down. 3. Switzerland 1.020. 4. Portugal 1.400. 5. Italy 1.547. 6. USA 1.617. 7. France 1.752. 8. Monaco 1.869. 9. New Zealand 1.902. 10. Germany 2.018. 11. Lebanon 2.071. 12. South Africa 2.169. 13. Malaysia 2.235. 14. Mexico 2.584. 15. Australia 2.753. 16. India 3.077. 17. Brazil 3.135. 18. Great Britain 3.213. 19. China 3.386. 20. Indonesia 3.420.

Sunday. 11.00 - 11.25 (12.00 - 12.25): sprint (standing start). 15.00 - 16.10 (16.00 - 17.10): feature race (standing start).

A1 WORLD CUP OF MOTORSPORT. Standings after 10 of 16 rounds:
1. Switzerland 73. 2 Ireland 70. 3. Portugal 64. 4. Netherlands 56. 5. France 41. 6. New Zealand 36. 7. Malaysia 32. 8. Australia 30. 9. Monaco 23. 10. Great Britain 20. 11. USA 19. 12. South Africa 19. Brazil 16. 14. Italy 10. 15. India 8. 16. Lebanon 8. 17. Korea 4. 18. China 4. 19. Indonesia 2. 20. Germany 0. 21. Mexico 0.

Schweizer Sportfernsehen SSF (STAR TV channel): Sunday, 20.00 - 22:00 h CET. -- NT1: Sunday, 15.00 h(live). -- AB Moteurs: Saturday 15.00 h, and Sunday 15.00 h (live). -- RaiSportPiù: Sunday 14.45 h (live).

- Michaell Schneider - photo A1GP

More photos on automobilsport.com under PHOTOS SLIDESHOWS and Photos Ecards A1GP

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12.04.2009 / MaP

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