A1 Team Great Britain dominated Friday's free practice sessions at the Sepang circuit in hot and humid conditions, as round three of the 2007/08 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport season kicked off in Malaysia.

23-year-old Oliver Jarvis set the pace, clocking an outstanding lap of 1 minute 49.459 seconds on worn tyres around the 5.54km circuit, slashing New Zealand's lap record of 1m 53.343s which was set by Jonny Reid at last year's A1GP Sepang event in November 2006.

Jarvis was pleased with his team's start to the weekend but is adamant there is still work to be done and is targeting a strong qualifying performance tomorrow afternoon.

"It was a reasonable day. I would've liked a bit more pace early on in the session with the new tyres but I'm very happy with the lap time set at the end - for the age of the tyres it was fairly fantastic," he stated.

"But tomorrow's when it really counts and the guys will sit down tonight and analyse the data and hopefully we'll come back even stronger tomorrow."

Switzerland's Neel Jani, whose driving style suits the smooth and flowing Sepang circuit, finished the day second fastest, just under half a second off the British car. Jani took over from Rahel Frey who was in the Swiss car this morning for the rookie session. Frey set the 13th quickest time and became the fifth female to drive an A1GP car during a race weekend.

"The Sepang track is as spectacular as per my memories of it. I did not really notice too much the difference despite resurfacing. The tyres have held up amazingly well. It really feels good driving. We had a good session and tried a lot of different technical solutions for the car. My goal is to improve tomorrow from P2 to P1," said Jani.

France's Loic Duval set the third fastest time of the day while the fourth spot was taken by current championship leader New Zealand's Jonny Reid, closely followed by China and defending champion Germany in fifth and sixth place respectively.

"I'm pretty satisfied with my first day. I know Sepang having raced GTs on it, but I have to say that the circuit looks very different when you're in a single-seater," said Loic.

"Technically speaking, Nicolas Prost's absence forced us to miss the rookie session. It had a small impact on our programme as I had to spend time bedding in the brake pads with new tyres. We've also got a new engine this weekend and adjusting it took three laps.

"However, our performance is very promising and it improved throughout practice. Before my last run we made a major modification to the car's set-up. I was not able to confirm the overall improvement in general balance due to the yellow flags at the end of the session, but we've definitely made a step forward as confirmed by the data acquisition systems. I think I can make a little progress too, so we're feeling confident for tomorrow."

Home nation Malaysia's Alex Yoong had a difficult session this afternoon and was not able to improve on 17th place due to the session being yellow flagged when Pakistan's Adam Khan spun off towards the end of the hour.

"We're losing quite a bit of time through the middle sector - the medium and high speed corners are where we're struggling a bit," explained Yoong. "I was pleasantly surprised to see how much grip there is out there and they've done a good job resurfacing it - it doesn't feel at all like the track we had last year.

"We made a couple of changes to the car during the session in the right direction but there's still a lot of work to be done overnight. I don't think today's time is truly representative of where we are and we should be able to improve that quite a bit tomorrow.

"There are still a couple of things we can improve on the car for sure. I am feeling more confident since Brno but I'm not going to count my chickens before they've hatched and we've got to keep pushing and hopefully keep improving throughout the weekend."

 

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