|New Zealand – A1 Team France continued to dominate the on-track action at Taupo, setting the pace in the third and final practice session this morning in sunny but blustery weather conditions, ahead of qualifying in New Zealand this afternoon.Loic Duval stormed to the top of the time sheets early on, improving throughout the hour to finish the session with a best lap of 1m15.292s around the picturesque 3.5km circuit. Duval was closely followed by Great Britain’s Robbie Kerr in second and Germany’s Christian Vietoris in third.
Despite spending the first half of the session confined to the garage with a technical problem, championship leader Switzerland’s Neel Jani set the fourth quickest time of the hour, just ahead of home nation New Zealand’s Jonny Reid in fifth. China’s Congfu Cheng was on fine form this morning, ending the session in a strong sixth position.
Canada’s Robert Wickens finished the session seventh with exactly the same lap time as China while Sergio Jimenez clocked the eighth fastest lap in the Brazilian car. Australia’s John Martin and the Netherland’s Jeroen Bleekemolen ended the morning ninth and 10th quickest respectively in what was an incredibly close session, with just over a second separating the top 14 teams.
The 22 nations now have to decide on their set ups before qualifying for the Sprint and Feature races starts at 14.15 this afternoon. Qualifying consists of four 15 minute sessions with a five minute break between each one. The fastest lap time set by each team’s nominated driver in the first two qualifying segments will determine the grid for the rolling start Sprint race, while the fastest times set in the final two segments will determine how the 22 cars will line up on the grid for the standing start Feature race. Each driver is limited to one ‘flying lap’ per 15 minute session.
Official Practice Session 3
Nominated drivers for Qualifying – A1GP Taupo, New Zealand (round 5 of 10)