Robert Doornbos made his debut as an official A1 Team Netherlands driver at Snetterton on Tuesday, completing his first laps with the new Ferrari-built car on his 27th birthday.
The former F1 and Champ Car driver was pleased with his first outing in the 600bhp car, despite having to relearn a track he last visited in 2001 with the British F3 Championship. Doornbos, who enjoyed a successful outing in the new Superleague Formula over the weekend, completed 31 laps of general running, and also got the chance to try the A1GP Series' 'powerboost' system.
“I think that we had a good and productive day," the Dutchman reported, "My first run was somewhat different, as I went out on track on slicks and, at that exact moment, it started raining.
"Fortunately, the track dried quickly, giving me the chance to do at least 20 laps in the dry during the afternoon. Because of the low weight and the amount of downforce, this car quite resembles a Formula One car."
Naturally, there were some rough edges to be smoothed out, with Doornbos claiming that he could have gone faster had been entirely comfortable in the cockpit.
"I do have to improve my driving position in this car before the China race, and I think this might have cost me a few tenths today," he admitted, "After the Zandvoort race, I will go to Silverstone to get a new seat fitted.”
Team-mate Jeroen Bleekemolen was also out on track during the day, the team's regular driver for the past couple of seasons making his final preparations for the opening round on home soil at Zandvoort.
“The car went very well today,” he commented, “I was able to do 29 laps in the afternoon, after Robert had already done his laps, and it all went well. We were quickest all day, even though I drove without the powerboost and on used tyres, so was not able to go at the limit, especially as our gear ratios were not perfect for this track. Robert did 54.8 and I did a 54.9. Italy a '55.8, so it is certainly looking good for Zandvoort from our perspective.”
New Zealand, Italy and the series test hack were also on track during the day, ahead of other teams getting a two-day test at Snetterton next week.