Irish eyes were smiling in qualifying ahead of the 2007/08 A1GP curtain-raiser at Zandvoort this weekend, as Ralph Firman twice put the emerald green machine in the top eight on the starting grid.

On a damp and overcast day in Holland, the squad worked through a series of set-up changes during practice in preparation for the afternoon's qualifying sessions, and it certainly reaped rewards as Firman placed his car seventh on the grid for the sprint race and sixth for the longer feature, having run consistently high up the pecking order throughout the four sessions.

"I'm reasonably happy with the result today," the former grand prix ace commented afterwards. "I made a few mistakes but I'm pleased to be up at the front; we've given ourselves a chance to get some good results in both races.

"The team did a terrific a job and we can hopefully aim for a podium tomorrow. The conditions out there today were pretty tough; it was drying all the time so you had to guess how much grip there was. I'm confident we'll be in good form for the races."

"It's been a successful afternoon for the team," agreed race engineer Dan Walmsley, "but we would have liked to be higher up the grid. We gradually found pace throughout the session; the track was changing a lot so it was difficult to keep the car balanced. We should maintain a competitive race pace tomorrow and hopefully we can secure a podium."



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