A1 Team Switzerland hampered by slow puncture

A1 Team Switzerland hampered by slow puncture

02.05.2009: Once again, the Swiss A1-Team struggled with a technical problem, in the first practice session of the Nations’ World Cup of Motor Racing. At Brands Hatch, England, the squad lost valuable preparation time due to a slow puncture

Only 10th in the first A1GP practice session at Brands Hatch

Once again, the Swiss A1-Team struggled with a technical problem, in the first practice session of the Nations’ World Cup of Motor Racing. At Brands Hatch, England, the squad lost valuable preparation time due to a slow puncture and consequently had to settle for finishing 10th.

At first, Jani didn’t realise that his rather poor lap times were caused by a slow puncture of the right rear tyre. Then, he had to cope with contesting the remainder of the session with a used tyre and therefore, the set-up of his car had to be extensively changed. At the end of the day, the team’s set-up work was virtually over, following the incident. After all, it became obvious that driver and mechanics were on the right path when it came to the set-up adjustments. Nonetheless, there just wasn’t enough time to clearly reduce the gap to the front-runners.

In the end, Jani was nearly 1.3 seconds slower than Dutchman Jeroen Bleekemolen and also wasn’t able to match the pace of his main rivals, Ireland’s Adam Carroll (2nd) and Portuguese Filipe Albuquerque (6th). “At first, we were truly distracted by the puncture,” admitted Jani. “Nonetheless, I think that we did a good job, afterwards. Never before in the season to date we changed the car’s set-up as massively as in this session.”

Team Principal Max Welti also wasn’t ready to lose his cool due to the problem. “It’s true, we will have to do a lot of work,” said the man from Zurich, “But the really crucial moments will be the qualifying session on Saturday and the races on Sunday. Therefore, we are confident when it comes to battling it out for the title with Ireland and Portugal.”

As the season finale that was supposed to be held in Mexico had to be cancelled due to the swine flu raging there, England now will be the venue of the decision in the battle for the A1GP title. Prior to the final race weekend, the three remaining title contenders – Switzerland, Ireland and Portugal – are split by just six points. Possibly, the drop-score regulation could prove to be crucial. For every team, the worst total score achieved in the two rounds of a race weekend will be dropped. For Switzerland, this score currently are the four points scored in the opening stages of the season, at Zandvoort, Netherlands. While Ireland and Portugal may add all the points scored at Brands Hatch to their tallies as they had to leave Zandvoort empty-handed.

Brands Hatch (Eng). A1GP World Cup of Motorsport practice sessio
n: 1st Netherlands (Jeroen Bleekemolen) 1:12.700 (83.637kph). 2nd Ireland (Adam Carroll) + 0,503 seconds. 3rd India (Narain Karthikeyan) + 0.584. 4th Monaco (Clivio Piccione) + 0.698. 5th USA (John R. Hildebrand Jr.) + 0.703. 6th Portugal (Filipe Albuquerque) + 0.868. 7th France (Nicolas Prost) + 0.892. 8th New Zealand (Earl Bamber) + 1.192. 9th Australia (John Martin) + 1.192. 10th Switzerland (Neel Jani) + 1.291. 11th Great Britain (Daniel Clarke) + 1.346. 12th China (Congfu Cheng) + 1.520. 13th Lebanon (Daniel Morad) + 1.527. 14th Germany (Michael Ammermüller) + 1.580. 15th Mexico (Salvador Durán) + 1.631. 16th Italy (Vitantonio Liuzzi) + 1.898. 17th South Africa (Alan van der Merwe) + 2.061. 18th Brazil (Felipe Guimarães) + 2.241. 19th Indonesia (Satrio Hermanto) + 2.475. 20th Malaysia (Aaron Lim) + 2.609.

1st France (Prost) 1:13.683. 2nd Switzerland (Alexandre Imperatori) + 0.149. 3rd USA (Hildebrand) + 0.527. 4th Netherlands (Dennis Retera) + 0.869. 5th Ireland (Niall Quinn) + 0.869. 6th South Africa (Cristiano Morgado) + 1.211. 7th Lebanon (Jimmy Auby) + 2.115. 8th Malaysia (Aaron Lim) + 2.345. 9th Great Britain (Aaron Steele) + 2.420. 10th India (Parthiva Sureshwaren) + 2.979. 11th Monaco (Hubert Bahlsen) + 5.504.

Time schedule.
Saturday. 10.50 to 11.50hrs (11.50 to 12.50hrs CEST): Practice session. 14.15 to 15.10hrs (15.15 to 16.10hrs): Qualifying session. -- Sunday. 11.00 to 11.25hrs (12.00 to 12.25hrs): Sprint. 15.00 to 16.10 (16.00 to 17.10hrs): Feature race.

A1GP WORLD CUP of Motorsport. Standings with 12 of 14 races contested:
1st Switzerland, 88 (net 84). 2nd Ireland 86 (86). 3rd Portugal 82 (82). 4th Netherlands 66 (60). 5th France 46 (46). 6th Malaysia 43 (43). 7th New Zealand 36 (36). 8th Australia 30 (30). 9th Monaco 27 (27). 10th Great Britain 24 (24). 11th USA 19 (19). 12th South Africa 19 (19). 13th Brazil 18 (18). 14th Italy 15 (15). 15th India 11 (11). 16th Mexico 8 (8). 17th Lebanon 8 (8). 18th China 7 (7). 19th Korea 4 (4). 20th Indonesia 3 (3). 21st Germany 2 (2).

TV coverage
: SSF ‘Schweizer Sportfernsehen’ (Channel STAR TV): Sunday, 20.00 to 22.00hrs CEST (19.00 to 21.00hrs BST). -- NT1: Sunday, 16.00hrs CEST (live). -- AB Moteurs: Saturday, 15.00hrs and Sunday, 15.00hrs. -- RaiSportPiù: Sunday, 14.45hrs (live).

- Michael Schneider-  photo A1GP

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02.05.2009 / MaP

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