Neel Jani insisted that qualifying for the A1GP feature race in Portugal had been the 'toughest qualifying ever' after he took third on the grid for the second race of the weekend in the Algarve.
Jani had gone into the sprint race session confident of a strong showing after displaying solid pace in practice, but was unable to set a time in the first segment of qualifying after not getting out of the pits in time to post a quick lap following a red flag.
That was compounded by a fuel pump issue in the second segment which left him unable to set a time and down in 20th place on the grid for the first race of the weekend.
With it taking time to recover the car to the pits, Jani was left with just the final segment of qualifying to post a time for the feature race and he duly secured third on the grid for the second race of the weekend.
“That was my toughest qualifying ever,” he said. “It was my first proper run on new tyres and it was a really, really good lap. There was a certain pressure, as I knew that if I made a mistake I'd be starting the Feature race from the back as well. So, I was being slightly safe and was amazed that it was good enough for third.
“We knew that we couldn't afford another red flag to be shown as the clock doesn't stop when that happens in qualifying, unlike practice, and so we could have run out of time to set a flying lap and so come away with nothing if I'd waited for the track to be at its best.
“I'll be starting third, from the clean side of the grid and I'm good at starts, while Robert [Doornbos] hasn't made great starts before. Then we'll just have to see what happens with Adam [Carroll].”