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Ireland quickest at Silverstone

NEWS STORY
23/10/2008

A1GP was in action again today at Silverstone, with some teams taking the opportunity to get some extra track time ahead of the second round of the season at Chengdu, China 7 – 9 November.

France, Brazil and Switzerland had no pre-season testing before arriving in Zandvoort for the season-opener earlier this month.

However, it was Ireland who set the pace, with Adam Carroll putting the disappointment of spinning out of both Zandvoort races behind him, to clock a superb lap of 45.554-seconds right at the end of the day. The lap was more than two seconds quicker than the previous best A1GP lap on the National layout, set by India's Narain Karthikeyan in testing one year ago.

Carroll said: "To get a couple of hours of running this afternoon is great, because I haven't really had much time in the car and I didn't get a whole lot of racing in at the weekend. It actually feels like it's been a while since I was last in the cockpit. It only took me a few laps to get back into it though, but the car felt really good. Every time I drive the new car it just gets more and more impressive, with the speed and downforce both very good."

Reigning champion Switzerland was just a fraction behind, with Neel Jani setting a lap just 0.148 seconds slower than Ireland. However, Jani is confident that there is much more speed to be found in the car.

Jani said: "We are still quite a way off getting 100 per cent out of the car. I remember in the very first season we tested on this layout and we were lapping at times of more than 50 seconds. Eventually we came down two seconds in two years, and it will be the same thing with the new car. Obviously I can push but testing is just about learning and then we can just see what happens with the lap time. We don't chase the best lap time, we just try to see what happens when we make different changes."

Although the lack of track time in Zandvoort didn't seem to matter to A1 Team France, with LoÔc Duval powering to victory in the Feature race, the team decided to make use of the optional test day to call upon the services of regular rookie Nicolas Prost, the son of four-time Formula 1 champion Alain. Prost's best time was good enough for third quickest – 0.756s behind Ireland's best.

Prost said: "The car is easy to drive but not easy to go really fast because you have to push very hard. It's great fun to drive because you can go in to the corner with a lot of speed. The traction is pretty good, the brakes amazing, there is a lot of downforce, so it's really a fantastic car. I've only driven this circuit in the first A1GP car, and it is quite a big difference."

Brazil's Felipe Guimar„es was happy to get some running in the new A1GP Powered by Ferrari car, with it being his first chance to run the new car in the dry after the wet of Zandvoort.

Guimar„es commented: "The first impression of the car was amazing. I told my engineer how really nice it was to drive. I've never driven anything as fast."

Clivio Piccione was back in the A1 Team Monaco entry with Jin-Woo Hwang out for Korea, the two new teams for this season. While the conditions were not ideal, with morning temperatures of nine degrees Celsius, this did not stop all the drivers beating the previous fastest A1GP time round the National Circuit.

Testing will continue at Silverstone next Monday (27 October) before the cars head to China.

Today's Times

Pos Country Driver Time Gap
1 Ireland Carroll 0:45.554 129.525 mph
2 Switzerland Jani 0:45.702 0.148
3 France Prost 0:46.310 0.756
4 Brazil Guimaraes 0:46.315 0.761
5 Monaco Piccione 0:46.941 1.387
6 Korea Hwang 0:47.737 2.183

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