James Winslow made a promising start to his role as A1 Team GBR's latest rookie driver, paving the way for returnee Robbie Kerr to post the sixth fastest time of the opening day at Taupo in New Zealand.

It was 26-year old Winslow's first taste of the A1GP car, as well as his first visit to the Taupo circuit, but the 2007 Formula Asia V6 by Renault champion belied the fact that he was one of very debutants at this race to complete the programme assigned to him as A1GP used biofuel for the first time.

After acquainting himself with the 3.5km circuit, situated on the edge of Lake Taupo, Winslow went to work on an engine installation and bedding brakes, before being able to put in some quick laps towards the end of the session to underline his potential.

"It's been a fantastic experience driving for Great Britain for the first time, and a real honour to represent my country," said the 2006 Asian F3 champion, who will get a second A1GP outing at Eastern Creek next month, "Considering it was my first time in the car, I was happy with how the session went and thought we had a good run, finishing only 1.3secs off the likes of Adam Carroll, who has had podium finishes in A1GP.

"The main purpose of the session was obviously to get all the jobs ticked off the list, but I'm sure that, when I drive the car for a second time at Eastern Creek, we'll
be quicker in the rookie session."

The British squad currently lies fourth in the championship, and Kerr is determined to score some strong points at Taupo to reignite its title challenge. Back in the car for the first time since the Brno weekend last October - during which he scored a second place podium in the Sprint race - Kerr took over from Winslow for the afternoon's one-hour practice session and made light of his three-month absence from the cockpit by setting the sixth best time of the day.

Although the initial laps were used to allow him to get a feel of the car and learn the reconfigured turn twelve, Kerr moved quickly on to developing his set-up, but limited his laps in order to save tyres as the team was happy with the overall performance of the car.

"It's great to be back in the car again," Kerr admitted, "We cannot complain about being sixth quickest in the practice session since I've been out of the car for over three months. We made a few changes during the session, which did help with performance, and I think we're definitely looking good for the weekend. I'm sure that, with some other small changes, we're going to find those few tenths that we're after."

Team boss Katie Clements echoed the confidence shown by both her drivers ahead of Saturday's qualifying sessions.

"It's been an encouraging start to GBR's return to Taupo," she commented, "James did a solid job in the rookie session, especially considering it was his debut both in the A1GP car and at Taupo, and obviously he has the honour of being the first Brit to drive the bio-fuel car for the team. We're also pleased with Robbie's performance, and he proved to be immediately on the pace after his initial laps on the revised track. We know the direction we're going in tomorrow and are feeling quietly confident ahead of qualifying."

 

Comments

Loading Comments...