Monday, December 11, 2006

New Zealander secures A1 pole

Sunday, December 10, 2006
The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Jonny Reid of New Zealand's A1 Team snatched the pole position Saturday for Sunday's Sprint race at the Gudang Garam A1GP Sentul, with a last-gasp flying lap in the final minutes of the qualifying session.

Reid's total time was just 0.034 seconds quicker than Great Britain's Robbie Kerr, who also moved up in the last minute to secure second position from Germany's Nico Hlkenberg for Sunday's 15-lap Sprint race.

Reid performed powerfully throughout the four segments, setting top five times in all sessions, but it was his last lap that grabbed pole.

"It's quite hard in today's qualifying due to the weather conditions, but I'm glad to be on the pole position, and looking forward to the race," said Reid.

He now looks to achieve a better result in Sentul than when he competed in Brno, Czech, the last race he started on pole, where he ran into the wall before the first corner after a clash with Hlkenberg.

Meanwhile, Kerr could only post the fifth quickest in the third until a massive push in the final minute moved him into second ahead of Hlkenberg.

"It was an unfortunate situation. I think we both have misjudged the circuit corner but we have been moving on and will be focusing on winning the race tomorrow," Kerr said.

After recording the fastest time in session one, 0.064 seconds quicker than Reid, Hlkenberg looked set to score yet another pole position, however he failed to match the pace in the remaining three 15-minute portions and dropped down to third overall.

Hlkenberg said he had made minor set-up adjustments between sessions, and felt the car was better Saturday.

"Yesterday I actually had a problem, but today, I felt much better and enjoyed the track. For me the weather does not really matter. I like both, the wet and the dry conditions. I'm ready for both conditions."

Mexican Salvador Duran, after setting the fastest time in the morning's earlier practice session, steadily improved his lap times to start the race from fourth position. Duran's combined times were enough to win the position against Phil Giebler of the USA, who posted the fastest time in the third session. Defending champions France will start the race in seventh behind Australia.

Ireland's A1 Team's new racer, Richard Lyons, had an eventful first A1GP qualifying when he ran wide into a tire wall at Turn Three during the second session and caused a red flag period.

He returned to the pits to repair the car and continued in the remaining sessions to start Sunday's Sprint race from 18th on the grid.

Team Indonesia's Ananda Mikola, with an aggregate time of 2.35.519, will start from seventeenth position, after India's Armaan Ebrahim.

The Sprint race is due to start Sunday morning at 11 a.m. with the result determining the grid for the afternoon's 50-lap Feature race, which will be moved back half an hour from the original scheduled time of 3 p.m. in anticipation of rain later in the afternoon. (02)

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