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Dutch unable to explain Q4 slump.


Team Netherlands were at a loss to explain why its challenge for pole position at round two of the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport faded in the final ten minutes of qualifying, but still pleased to have registered second and eighth grid slots with debutant Robert Doornbos.

The final free practice session in the morning made it clear that the fight for pole would be decided on thousands of a second, with the top six runners all lapping inside two tenths and the Dutch squad just managing to keep Team Ireland, with whom it cooperates, at bay.

The same two teams battled it out in the first ten minutes of sprint race qualifying - as it had been in round one at Zandvoort - but just as it seemed that Doornbos' late run, and time of 1min 15.492secs, would secure first place on the grid, Ireland's Adam Carroll popped up to go 0.069secs faster and claim provisional pole.

When Team Italy's Edoardo Piscopo spun off, however, the delay in recovering his car from the gravel trap caused the second session to be cancelled, leaving Ireland on top and Doornbos disappointed not to get another crack at pole.

Despite being confident that he could redress the balance in qualifying for the feature race, which took place almost immediately, Doornbos failed to improve on his time, which meant a provisional fifth place but, when France's Nicolas Prost brought out the red flag, the orange machine was still in the garage, its driver ready to roll.

When the session restarted, Doornbos headed out just behind Carroll, but a best time of 1min 16.390secs meant that the session became an anti-climax for Team Netherlands, which dropped further back, eventually winding up eighth on the grid as Team Great Britain took the pole with a lap of 1min 15.325secs - just ahead of Ireland and Portugal.

“We took some punches this afternoon," seat holder Jan Lammers sighed, "We cannot explain why, suddenly, Robert was unable to fight for pole in the final qualifying segment. First, we were 0.1secs off and, 20 minutes later, we were a full second slower with the same car. I hoped that Robert would have said that he had almost gone off or made an error to explain the time loss, but he just was unhappy with the way the car handled in that final run.

"The experts are now looking at it and I hope that we can get the heat on again tomorrow. First, we have to see if Robert is able to pull the sprint race his way - and then the heavy task of moving up in the feature race awaits. I do expect the help of a lot of pace car situations, so it should be possible, but we have got our work cut out for us.”


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