Following on from Michael Ammerm?ller's triumph last time out in Zhuhai, Christian Vietoris came back to A1GP with a bang in Taupo, by storming to his best-ever qualifying positions for defending champions Germany.

The 18-year-old from G?nnersdorf is making only his fourth appearance in the nation vs nation series in New Zealand this weekend, with a highest finish of sixth position from the six races he has contested so far. With Ammerm?ller's breakthrough success putting Germany back on the victory trail once more following a subdued start to the 2007/08 campaign, Vietoris was clearly keen to maintain that trend on his return, and despite blustery conditions sending sand sweeping across the circuit, he did so in some style.

The F3 ace was never out of the top four throughout the qualifying sessions, and will begin the sprint race from fourth spot on the grid, and the longer feature outing from the outside of the front row alongside France's Lo?c Duval. The result marks not only his personal best qualifying average in A1GP, but also the team's highest of the season, matching that achieved by Ammerm?ller in China.

"Today I had an unusual task in qualifying," Vietoris explained afterwards. "As the wind was blowing so much dust onto the track, the whole field only started in the last two or three minutes of each session, so it was important to find a gap and still maintain the high temperatures in the tyres on the respective 'out' laps.

"This didn't work as expected in the sessions for the sprint race. I went out on new tyres both times, but the temperature was not perfect as I had to leave a gap to get a free lap, so I changed my approach for feature race qualifying. We went out slightly earlier and the tyre temperatures were much better.

"We've improved continuously since the free practice sessions, and we nearly clinched pole position. Despite having achieved my personal best qualifying performance of the season, I'm a bit disappointed as it was absolutely close at the end, with France pipping us by just 0.035s. With a slightly more aggressive approach, we might have been able to clinch pole position. Anyway, we are in a strong position for the feature race, but as the weather forecast predicts some rain, it could be quite a lottery on Sunday."

 

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