James Hinchcliffe produced a more competitive performance in qualifying for the seventh round of the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport in Australia, but was still left frustrated after missing the top ten for the first time this season.

Making his debut at the 3.93km Sydney circuit, Hinchcliffe completed 22 more laps in Saturday morning's final practice session, posting the twelfth fastest lap time, before heading into the afternoon's four-lap qualifying shoot-out.

Eighth quickest on his first run on fresh rubber, the 20-year-old was then sixth fastest in the second session on used tyres. His fastest lap, a 1min 18.651secs came on his third run, before setting his second best time on his final attempt.

An aggregate time of 2min 37.739secs meant the Canadia narrowly missed out on the top-ten for the first time in his rookie season, but he remains confident of performing strongly on race day.

"It's frustrating to miss out on a top-ten start but I know the car's quick so hopefully I can pick them off one at a time when we go racing tomorrow," he said. "We could well have been fifth on the grid if it hadn't been for the fact I was slowed by the Brazilian car in the second sector of my fourth and final qualifying run. I was a tenth up in the first and third sectors but the middle bit cost us as I caught Brazil on their in-lap.

"I guess you have to have a bit of luck sometimes when you're out there with this qualifying format. If I can keep my nose clean Sunday then hopefully we'll finish strong and come away with a haul of points to boost our top-ten A1GP standing."



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