A1 Team New Zealand stormed to the top of the time sheets at Silverstone on the first day of the final A1GP official test ahead of the start of the 2007/08 season.

Jonny Reid set the pace during the afternoon with a blisteringly quick time of 48.102secs, breaking the lap record for an A1GP car around the National circuit by eight hundredths of a second. The previous lap record of 48.182ssecs was set in 2005 by A1 Team France driver Alexandre Premat.

"Today we have just been trying things for longer runs and for qualifying runs and also just to see what the cars can do and we found some interesting things," Reid said. "The car was fantastic in the final run but there are definitely some areas where we can improve tomorrow."

A1 Team India also enjoyed a strong afternoon session, Narain Kathikeyan clocking the second fastest time of the day of 48.362s and covering 102 laps. The 30-year-old Williams F1 test driver driver is feeling confident about what India can achieve at the first race of the new season.

"We tried a lot of things to keep improving the car throughout the day," he said. "We still need to find a bit but I think we are going in the right direction. I'm looking forward to racing at Zandvoort next week. I went very well in Formula 3 at Zandvoort - it was a very long time ago I know, but I'm feeling very confident."

A1 Team Netherlands dominated the morning session ahead of its home race at Zandvoort, with Jeroen Bleekemolen recording a fastest lap of 48.373secs and finishing the day third fastest overall.

"We were really happy today because in the morning we were fastest, we found something on the car and we definitely improved," he said. "Then in the afternoon we tried something else which didn't work, so then we weren't up there in the times but I'm really pleased because overall we took the third fastest time and I think we really improved from the last test. Tomorrow we will be trying different things again, but I think we have already found a good base to start from in Zandvoort."

At the end of the first day of the one and a half day test, Loic Duval, driving for A1 Team France, set the fourth fastest time and completed an impressive 154 laps. Cong Fu Cheng was at the wheel for A1 Team China today and the 23-year-old was on fine form, covering 93 laps and setting the fifth fastest time overall.

China was closely followed by A1 Team GBR's Oliver Jarvis, who covered 85 laps on home turf and ended the day with the sixth fastest time.

"I think today we had a good day - we haven't done a great deal of running, but we had prioritised to shake down the engine and work on a few bits and pieces," he said. "The day went reasonably well, I was a bit disappointed not to end up a bit further up the time sheets, but we always knew it was going to be tough as we were only on one set of tyres today and most people run two. Overall not a bad day and we're confident heading into the opening round at Zandvoort."

Two female rookies tested the A1 Team Switzerland car on day one; Rahel Frey and Natacha Gachnang shared the driving duties with regular pilot and A1GP race winner Neel Jani.



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