Adam Carroll was left scratching his head after proving unable to convert Friday's startling practice pace into qualifying results on A1GP's inaugural visit to Zhuhai this weekend - and in the feature race he will start all the way down in 13th place.

Off the back of comfortably topping the timesheets on the first day, the Irish squad was in positive mood heading into qualifying, and a fantastic run on new rubber in the first session kept the emerald entry on top. Grip problems with the second set of tyres, however, saw Carroll deposed by both Michael Ammerm?ller of defending champions Germany and Switzerland's Neel Jani before the second session was out, whilst even more severe grip woes later on would consign the Portadown ace to a lowly seventh row grid slot for the longer feature outing.

"It's really strange," the five-time GP2 race-winner acknowledged. "We went out and were P1 in qualifying one and the car felt great, so I pushed hard and got a good lap time. We then put on the second set of new tyres and I felt I could improve, but the grip just wasn't there. It was incredible - the car felt good but the lap time just wasn't there. I've never had that before.

"The third and fourth sets were the same. I thought I'd done a good lap but the time was terrible, and none of the sets of tyres felt anything like the first ones. We now need to go through all the data and try to figure out why when everyone else went faster we went slower, but I honestly can't answer that one yet. P3 is pretty good for sprint race, though, and we can get a good result from there."

That much is true, and with a standing start, two pit-stops and 70 minutes of racing action, there is plenty of ground that can be made up in the feature race too. Indeed, the 25-year-old has already proved he is more than capable of doing just that following his amazing drive through the field from 18th up into sixth place in the Czech Republic earlier in the season.

"I think in the sprint race qualifying we could have even been on pole," reflected race engineer Dan Walmsley. "We felt there was more time to come in the second run, but the set of tyres didn't really give us the grip we were looking for. Overall we are quite happy with third, though.

"The feature race qualifying is a complete mystery at the moment. We just lost time; we lost nearly a second to our sprint race qualifying without making any major changes to the car, so we've really got to understand why that happened and make sure it doesn't happen in tomorrow's race. We had a slight fuel pressure problem during the session, but we overcame that and the team worked well today.

"I think the team is very disappointed with the overall results, so we've got a lot of work to do for tomorrow. I'm confident we wont be finishing the feature race where we're starting it and I'm sure Adam will put on a great show for everyone again, but we need to make sure he is starting the races up at the front and not having to fight his way up from the back like sadly he had to do at Brno, and he's got to do again here."

"Sprint qualifying went well," added team principal Mark Gallagher, "and it is very satisfying to be in the top three, matching our best-ever qualifying. There was a clear lack of speed in the feature qualifying which is going to be investigated though, as Adam felt sure he was much quicker."

 

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