Niko Hulkenberg maintained his record for qualifying inside the top five in each race so far this season when he secured third on the grid for the fourth round of the A1 Grand Prix Championship at Sepang, albeit not without a controversial coming together with the Irish entry.

Having led the way in practice, Hulkenberg was always expected to challenge for pole position but instead found himself under investigation by the stewards when he tipped Ireland's Michael Devaney into a spin during the first of the four sessions.

With the changing weather conditions meaning times set in the first two sessions were always likely to go towards the final aggregate times, Hulkenberg was instead forced to settle for an overall time from the slightly slower second and third sessions.

Nonetheless, despite the disadvantage, the 19-year-old did enough to claim third on the grid behind Switzerland's Neel Jani and Brno sparring partner Jonny Reid in the New Zealand entry.

Indeed, with his scintillating practice in mind, Hulkenberg is confident he will still be the driver to beat come race day, particularly as closest championship rivals Mexico will start down in 12th place.

"We used new slicks in the first three qualifying runs. Under such weather conditions and the constant threat of monsoon rain I drove out early for my first attempt - just like everybody else. There was loads of traffic on the track. I caught up with the Irish car and lost time.

The next two runs were better for me, but the circuit conditions in the third and fourth outings didn't allow any of the top teams to improve the absolute lap time. I was hoping for a little more after the excellent showing in free practice, but a good result in both races should nevertheless be possible from the second row of the grid."



Loading Comments...