News of 1st May 2009
Nicolas: Ready to fight!
Today, practice began for the seventh and final round of the 2008-09 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport Championship on the very challenging Brands Hatch circuit in Kent in the south of England.
The rookie sessions got off to a prompt start in sunny, warm weather: air temperature 21°C and on the track it was 36°. Nicolas Prost was on the pace straight away and steadily whittled down his times as he began to dial himself in in the car. In addition, the team had solved the braking problems that had plagued it in Portugal, making it much easier to drive. Nicolas ended the first part of the rookie session with the quickest time in 1m 14.8s. In the 10-minute break between the 2 rookie sessions, the team worked on improving the car’s set-up, and Nicolas rewarded their efforts by topping the time sheets in the second part as well in 1m 13.7s.
The afternoon free session kicked off in temperatures very similar to those of the morning. A1 Team France waited for 10 minutes before going out, as the track was still a bit dirty. Nicolas then did a first run setting a time of 1m 13.598s giving him fourth place just two tenths off the provisional pole. Nicolas did not manage to improve during the rest of practice, and finished the day in seventh place overall in a very competitive session with just under a second separating the first seven cars. Tonight, the team will work on the data to try and find more time in the second section, where the car seems to be losing out to its rivals.
Olivier Panis, Sporting Director: «Overall, it’s been a positive day’s work for the team. Nicolas showed his speed this morning by setting the best times in both rookie sessions. This afternoon, he finished seventh in what was a very competitive session, which bodes well for tomorrow as we haven’t yet run through our full programme and we feel there’s more pace to come.»
Nicolas Prost: «This morning went off very well and I’m delighted to have set the fastest times in what were my last rookie sessions. This afternoon could have been a little better. What’s very positive is that we’ve solved the brake problems that plagued us in Portugal and overall the car’s general balance is very good. We need a bit more grip and we’ll work through the data tonight to find that little bit of extra pace for tomorrow to close the gap to our rivals.»
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