Neel Jani proved Switzerland intends to fight back with a vengeance as the 2007/08 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport reaches fever pitch in South Africa this weekend, with three of the leading five title contenders all blanketed by just over two tenths of a second in the final pre-qualifying practice session.

The former GP2 and Champ Car ace mastered the hot, humid and breezy conditions in Durban to lap just over a tenth of a second quicker than Germany's Michael Ammerm?ller, as the reigning champions continue their fight back from a slow start to the campaign.

Jani set his best effort halfway through the incident-packed session, punctuated by red flags brought out by India, Australia, Italy and Ireland. Ammerm?ller, meanwhile, has been on strong form throughout practice, and he was followed equally closely by Loic Duval.

The 25-year-old is the third driver to get behind the wheel of the French entry this weekend, after flying in from Japan and only arriving at the circuit an hour before the session began. The French team, currently level on points with New Zealand at the top of the championship table, has employed such an audacious strategy in a bid to keep its challenge for glory on-track.

Great Britain hope and new Audi DTM signing Oliver Jarvis leapt up the order into second place behind Switzerland with 25 minutes remaining, before ultimately winding up fourth, ahead of the Netherlands' on-form Jeroen Bleekemolen and Chinese star Congfu Cheng.

Canadian Robert Wickens fairly flew at the start of the session, as he ran on comparatively fresh tyres having only completed four laps on the opening day. He eventually ended up seventh, ahead of the remaining two protagonists for the crown, home nation South Africa's Adrian Zaugg in eighth and New Zealand's Jonny Reid fractionally behind in ninth. Portuguese newcomer Filipe Albuquerque rounded out the top ten, just over seven tenths shy of the leading pace.

 

Comments

Loading Comments...