The third season of A1GP World Cup of Motorsport kicked off in Zandvoort, Netherlands today, with A1 Team Lebanon taking its place in the line up of 22 countries competing for national pride. This unique nation versus nation international motor racing series travels the globe and A1 Team Lebanon, carrying the flags of the Arab countries, represents the region as the only Arab team competing. At the conclusion of the day, Lebanon had qualified 18th for the Sprint race and in 18th place for the longer Feature race.
In the opening day of running, two morning practice sessions were used by all the teams to prepare for the two races tomorrow. A1 Team Lebanon selected driver, Chris Alajajian, was behind the wheel and ready for his first taste of the Zandvoort track with the A1GP car. Wet weather produced difficult track conditions, but Alajajian coped well and was able to produce x fastest time by the end of the first session. The team reviewed the data and were back out again for further practice and trying different setup options.
The weather remained damp for afternoon qualifying, with a partly wet – partly dry track challenging the drivers’ skills and the engineers’ technical abilities to the limit. The traditional format for A1GP qualifying continues this season, with four segments of track time allowed, within which each team posts one ‘flying lap’. However, in a revision to the regulations, the best lap time from the first two segments sets the team’s grid position for the Sprint race and the best time from the second two, sets the position for the Feature race.
In the first segment, Lebanon was out on track early and had completed a flying lap, just as a red flag flew for an on-track collision between the cars of USA and Australia. At the end of the allotted 15 minutes available, all the cars had completed their laps and Lebanon was lying in17th. After the second segment, with another solid lap from Alajajian, the team finished with an 18th place grid slot for the Sprint race. In the final two segments Alajajian put in two consistent laps to line up 18th for the feature race as well.
He said after qualifying, “It was all a new experience for me today, but I’ve really enjoyed it. The weather conditions weren’t very kind to us, as it was quite slippery on track and I wasn’t as confident as I wanted to be. We’re all working well together and I think we can improve on this position in the races tomorrow. It’s only my first race with the team, so I think it was satisfactory, but I’ll certainly be looking for more from myself and the car as I gain more experience in the Series.”
Marcus Koch, Chief Engineer, A1 Team Lebanon, added, “Chris drove well this afternoon under difficult circumstances. He’s had relatively little experience of the A1 car and it was his first time at an A1GP event, so he hadn’t taken part in this sort of qualifying format, only having one shot at each qualifying lap. We’re happy with this starting point, but tomorrow is the most important day, when there is the opportunity to score points. Now we must wait and see what tomorrow brings.”
The Zandvoort round of the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport is the first of eleven events held around the globe through the winter months. Travelling to ten countries, with twenty two races, this season promises plenty of fast and furious racing action between 22 nations. To follow the progress of the team visit www.a1teamlebanon.com and for series information go to www.a1gp.com.
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