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A1GP Netherlands Tops Durban Friday Practice

South Africa - A1 Team Netherlands set the pace in the second of today's two free practice sessions in South Africa as round seven of the 2007/08 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport season got underway around the streets of Durban in hot and humid weather conditions.

Jeroen Bleekemolen recorded the best lap time of the day, a 1m18.738s, around the 3.28 km circuit, just over half a second off Brazil's lap record. Germany's Michael Ammermüller, who was an impressive 1.3 seconds quicker than the rest of the field at the end of the rookie practice session this morning, clocked the second fastest time of the day.

Great Britain's Oliver Jarvis, who hasn't driven an A1GP car since December 2007, and USA's Jonathan Summerton were on good form this afternoon, setting the third and fifth fastest lap times respectively. This was particularly impressive as both nations did not have the benefit of this morning's rookie session. Switzerland's Neel Jani was sandwiched between GBR and USA in fourth.

Home nation South Africa's Adrian Zaugg pleased his local fans by setting the sixth fastest time of the day despite limited track time, closely followed by Australia's John Martin in seventh. Title leaders A1 Team New Zealand and France had a tough time around the streets of Durban, finishing the session 11th and 15th respectively.

Canada's Robert Wickens only managed 10 minutes of track time and completed four laps in this afternoon's session, as the team had to repair damage sustained to the car during this morning's rookie session, when new boy Daniel Morad, the youngest driver to sign-on this season, was behind the wheel.

With concrete walls surrounding the perimeter of the tight and twisty street circuit, some of the teams and drivers ran into trouble with session-stopping incidents. A1 Team Mexico's David Garza had a big accident this morning, hitting the wall as he exited turn six. Garza was unhurt but the car was so badly damaged that the Mexican team had to sit out the second session and spend the afternoon setting up one of A1GP's spare cars for qualifying tomorrow.

The Netherlands' Jeroen Bleekemolen set the fastest time overall today and is feeling happier with the set up of the Dutch car:

'It was a lot of fun to drive. I love street circuits so it's been going really well. I won last year in Monaco with the Porsche Supercup and I won with A1GP in Beijing so I just like racing on these tracks. We have been struggling a lot with the car the last few races and it's going much better on street circuits, as it did in the past with Jos Verstaapen, so I think we have a much better set up for that and it looks like we have a good chance for this weekend. We just need to work on the normal circuit set up.'

South Africa's Adrian Zaugg, who set the sixth fastest lap this afternoon, is feeling quietly confident ahead of his home event in Durban this weekend:

'We had problems with rebalancing the tyres today so we just tried to do one lap at the end which wasn't too bad under the circumstances, so we're looking alright. It's very competitive and A1GP is getting more and more competitive with each season and I think the times will stay pretty close all weekend. I'm pretty confident - we'll see after qualifying on Saturday afternoon but I think we should be in good shape.'

Official Practice Session 1 - Rookie drivers and developing nations only

POS

A1 TEAM

DRIVER

TIME S1

LAP S1

TIME S2

LAP S2

TIME

GAP FIRST

1

GERMANY

Michael AMMERMÜLLER

01:21.162

12

01:19.390

16

01:19.390

 

2

SWITZERLAND

Marcel FASSLER

01:21.006

12

01:20.705

17

01:20.705

1.315

3

AUSTRALIA

John MARTIN

01:21.870

17

01:20.885

13

01:20.885

1.495

4

MALAYSIA

Fairuz FAUZY

01:21.502

15

01:21.144

12

01:21.144

1.754

5

SOUTH AFRICA

Wesleigh ORR

01:22.456

14

01:21.254

13

01:21.254

1.864

6

BRAZIL

Xandi NEGRAO

01:22.026

13

01:21.255

14

01:21.255

1.865

7

PAKISTAN

Adam KHAN

01:22.980

10

01:21.442

5

01:21.442

2.052

8

ITALY

Edoardo PISCOPO

01:22.548

15

01:21.642

15

01:21.642

2.252

9

FRANCE

Nicolas PROST

01:23.047

13

01:21.707

14

01:21.707

2.317

10

LEBANON

Khalil BESCHIR

01:24.009

10

01:21.863

8

01:21.863

2.473

11

NETHERLANDS

Arie LUYENDYK

01:23.376

12

01:22.347

12

01:22.347

2.957

12

MEXICO

David GARZA

01:22.384

13

01:23.239

4

01:22.384

2.994

13

PORTUGAL

Filipe ALBUQUERQUE

01:22.859

6

01:22.550

8

01:22.550

3.16

14

INDONESIA

Satrio HERMANTO

01:23.994

15

01:23.115

15

01:23.115

3.725

15

IRELAND

Niall QUINN

01:23.484

11

01:23.401

8

01:23.401

4.011

16

INDIA

Parthiva SURESHWAREN

01:24.334

6

01:24.101

12

01:24.101

4.711

17

CANADA

Daniel MORAD

01:24.226

5

01:25.039

5

01:24.226

4.836

18

CZECH REPUBLIC

Josef KRAL

01:26.088

9

 

0

01:26.088

6.698

Official Practice session 2 (14.00 - 15.00)

POS

 DRIVER

 A1 TEAM

 LAP

 TIME

 GAP_FIRST

 LAPS

1

Jeroen BLEEKEMOLEN

NETHERLANDS

19

01:18.738

-

23

2

Michael AMMERMÜLLER

GERMANY

11

01:19.051

0.313

17

3

Oliver JARVIS

GREAT BRITAIN

20

01:19.207

0.469

22

4

Neel JANI

SWITZERLAND

20

01:19.303

0.565

23

5

Jonathan SUMMERTON

USA

20

01:19.525

0.787

21

6

Adrian ZAUGG

SOUTH AFRICA

17

01:19.567

0.829

17

7

John MARTIN

AUSTRALIA

5

01:19.579

0.841

16

8

Narain KARTHIKEYAN

INDIA

21

01:19.580

0.842

26

9

Filipe ALBUQUERQUE

PORTUGAL

20

01:19.626

0.888

23

10

Fairuz FAUZY

MALAYSIA

21

01:19.658

0.92

23

11

Jonny REID

NEW ZEALAND

23

01:19.765

1.027

28

12

Bruno JUNQUEIRA

BRAZIL

5

01:20.023

1.285

6

13

Adam KHAN

PAKISTAN

11

01:20.058

1.32

22

14

Congfu CHENG

CHINA

21

01:20.058

1.32

26

15

Jonathan COCHET

FRANCE

21

01:20.271

1.533

23

16

Adam CARROLL

IRELAND

18

01:20.354

1.616

19

17

Robert WICKENS

CANADA

3

01:20.990

2.252

4

18

Edoardo PISCOPO

ITALY

8

01:21.430

2.692

27

19

Satrio HERMANTO

INDONESIA

13

01:22.230

3.492

22

20

Khalil BESCHIR

LEBANON

3

01:22.469

3.731

10

21

Josef KRAL

CZECH REPUBLIC

21

01:22.727

3.989

28

22

David GARZA

MEXICO

0

 

 

0