Robbie Kerr's A1GP weekend may not have got off to the best of starts Down Under at Eastern Creek, but the Briton fought back valiantly in qualifying to seal a brace of top ten grid slots - and a second row starting position for the longer feature race.

During routine pit-stop practice on Friday evening, the wheel nut gun pipe from neighbouring A1 Team Portugal had become detached from the tank, causing the gun to swing around and strike A1 Team GBR's engineer James Goodfield just above the knee. Goodfield was taken to the local hospital where he is currently being treated for a broken leg, and in his absence data engineer Albert Lau is taking responsibility for the engineering of the car.

Having set consistently quick laps and posted the second-fastest time behind France's Loic Duval in final free practice - despite running on scrubbed tyres - sprint race qualifying did not go according to plan for Kerr. The 28-year-old went out late in Q1 and was subsequently baulked on his out-lap by a number of other cars, preventing him from crossing the line to begin his 'hot' lap before the chequered flag appeared.

A series of improvements to the car nevertheless allowed him to vault up the order into eighth place in Q2, exactly half a second shy of the top spot, whilst a rear grip-less third segment of qualifying on old rubber was the catalyst for further set-up amendments, and a strong run to third on the grid for Sunday's 70-minute feature outing.

"We're reasonably happy with our results," the High Wycombe ace and series veteran reflected afterwards, "given that we are without our race engineer. In the first sprint race qualifying session, a number of cars backed up in front of us slowing us down and unfortunately we didn't make the line in time.

"With the difference in track temperature from this morning, the car had changed quite a lot from the final practice session, so we made a few changes ahead of the second session. Although it improved the car, it wasn't quite enough to get the time we were after.

"We made a few further adjustments ahead of the first feature race qualifying session which changed the rear, making it harder to drive. However, the improvements made ahead of the final qualifying worked, and we're fairly happy with starting from the second row given the circumstances."

"First of all I would like to wish James a speedy recovery on behalf of the whole team," added team principal Katie Clements. "We very much hope he will be well enough to join the team to watch tomorrow's races.

"Qualifying certainly didn't begin the way that our earlier weekend form had suggested. However, I'm happy that by the end of the session we had got things right and will now begin the feature race from a strong starting position. Robbie has always been quick here at Eastern Creek, and we are confident we can achieve some good results in tomorrow's races."

 

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