Neel Jani was on the pace for Team Switzerland on the opening of running at Sepang, posting the fourth fastest time in practice for the latest round of the A1GP season in Malaysia.

The F1 test driver, who helped carry the Swiss team to second in the inaugural standings last season, was forced to complete the days running alone after rookie driver Marcel Fassler stayed at home ahead of the impending birth of his third child but was able to fight near the top of the times, with a best lap of 1min 53.431secs during the afternoon session.

"I was always expecting this weekend to be tough but we have been working hard as a team to prepare carefully for the practice session," he said. "It was a good practice and I had some good, consistent laps. In a way, this session was my real start of the season as I could not drive the two first events and the conditions were complicated in Beijing. I like the track, it's quite the opposite of what we had in China!

"For sure we are missing the morning data without Marcel Fassler. We did a lot of work nevertheless including running in the brakes with the new tyres. We are now close to a good set up and have made lots of progress. We still have one session tomorrow morning before the qualifying session to improve and fine-tune the car.

"The track is really interesting, I can't decide which turn I like best. It is the whole combination which is excellent. It will be an interesting race as we never know what the track is going to be like and this circuit is quite unpredictable."

Team boss Max Welti was happy with the way the day panned out, although he too admitted that the lack of a rookie driver had left the team with extra work to do.

"A good session for Neel this afternoon," he said. "We had a short day as we missed data from the rookie session. But everything developed positively despite the short rain period that disturbed the session. Neel and his engineer Franck Funke did a good job with the team and we are confident for a good weekend ahead."



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