Brno - A1GP - Practice
Defending champion A1 Team Germany dominated today's free practice sessions at Brno circuit, as the second round of the 2007/08 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport season got underway in the Czech Republic.
18-year-old Christian Vietoris, who has tested
but never raced at Brno, topped the time sheets with a blisteringly quick 1m45.336s around the 5.4km circuit, breaking the lap record of 1m47.696s which was set by Malaysia's Alex Yoong at last year's A1GP Brno event in October 2006.
Vietoris was pleased with his team's start to the weekend and is looking forward to qualifying tomorrow. "We started with a really good set up in the rookie session. It was a pretty good start and the car was quite good. In the second rookie session we had a little problem but we were able to get the car ready for the second practice this afternoon and we had a good level and new tyres so now we're looking forward to tomorrow."
Great Britain's Robbie Kerr was on strong form from the outset, finishing the day an impressive second fastest, just six-tenths off the German car. The 28-year-old driver obviously enjoyed the session and is happy to be back in the British car. "After Zandvoort, it's an absolutely great start for the team and for me it's great to be back in the car here in Brno for the second race of the season and to be immediately on the pace.
It's not bad for your first lap round this weekend so we're fairly happy, but we do need to make a few improvements to the car to make sure we stay at the front all weekend."
The GBR racer was closely followed by A1 Team New Zealand with the third fastest time, which was particularly impressive as the team's lead driver Jonny Reid does not qualify for the rookie sessions and only took part in half of the hour-long session this afternoon.
Adam Carroll, making his race debut for A1 Team Ireland at Brno this weekend, was on good form and enjoyed a competitive first day of practice, setting the sixth quickest time of the day in the emerald-green car.
Local hero and rookie driver Erik Janis finished the day 14th overall and is excited about racing in front of his home crowd this weekend. "Brno is my home circuit and everybody expects it from me that I will be able to fight at the front like Tomas (Enge) last year, but it is very difficult for me because I have still not much experience. Today at the beginning of the rookie session it wasn't so bad - we were in the top five and the time wasn't bad. In the last practice session we were not satisfied with the set up and we're struggling a little bit with the car and we hope that we will do better tomorrow."
When asked about the cool weather conditions, Janis commented: "I don't think that it is a problem that it is quite cold and I hope that tomorrow the weather will be better and I hope for no rain conditions."
Malaysia's Alex Yoong, who took a famous double victory at Brno last year, ended the day a disappointing 17th but remains calm ahead of the weekend. "We started the session with the same set up as last year but the car had masses of oversteer and the track was still quite green. The other drivers were setting quick times though so we need to have a look at the car and go back to the drawing board. We know we can be quick here so we just need to go through the car and be methodical and get it sorted for tomorrow."
A1 Team Switzerland's Natacha Gachnang impressed the paddock in the rookie session this morning, clocking the sixth best time of the morning and becoming the fastest female to have driven an A1GP car.