Robert Wickens waited for the closing minutes of the final qualifying segment to secure pole position for the Feature race at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriquez in Mexico City on Saturday.

The Canadian, who became the youngest ever A1GP pole winner at the previous round in South Africa, collected his third front-row start in four races courtesy of a flying lap of 1 minute 20.278 seconds, just 0.042 seconds up on his nearest rival.

Wickens, whose pole came with the top twelve nations separated by less than a second, was delighted with his first Feature race pole and praised the work of his team.

"Getting my first Feature pole is definitely a good accomplishment," said the 19-year-old. "Everyone always wants to win the Feature over the Sprint because in my opinion it's a better race - it's longer and there are pit stops and more variables.

"Canada did a great job and the car was phenomenal. We struggled a bit in practice but we were able to overcome our difficulties and it was a pretty solid qualifying effort."

Switzerland's Neel Jani will line up alongside the Canadian in second place, while Germany's Michael Ammerm?ller qualified in third position, 0.326 seconds further back.

"Had we been as quick in the beginning as we were at the end, I'd have secured two very promising grid positions!" said Ammermuller, who had to settle for 13th on the grid for the Sprint. "For the first time, we weren't allowed to have any rookie practice and in the subsequent Free Practice sessions we lost valuable time due to tyre problems.

"That's why the car wasn't perfect yet at the beginning of the qualifying practice and had too much understeer. Between the second and third qualifying segment the team improved the car by making minor mechanical and aerodynamic changes so significantly that I set the seventh-best time on used tyres.

"Subsequently, on the new set of tyres, I was as the limit in my last trial - third place was simply the maximum. The basic problem is that the set-up on this bumpy track is completely different than on any of the other circuits, and this requires some adjustments in thinking."

Great Britain's Oliver Jarvis, who blitzed the Mexico Feature race last year to take GBR's first ever A1GP victory, meanwhile was next up in fourth. He was not overly pleased though as GB had been quickest on Friday in practice.

"It's been quite a disappointing qualifying as we had good pace in yesterday's practice and we weren't too worried about being seventh fastest in this mornings' practice since we were very confident that come qualifying we would be quick," he explained

"However, we struggled a bit in the first Sprint race qualifying, then the second Sprint race qualifying was better, but unfortunately we lost out as a yellow flag was shown on the screen and the team radioed, but when I arrived at the corner there wasn't an incident, which I think cost us a potential front row start.

"The first Feature race qualifying was okay on used tyres, and then the second Feature race qualifying was looking very good but I made a small mistake at the chicane, otherwise we could have been third behind Canada and Switzerland who were both on the pace."

Further down the order Ireland's Adam Carroll took P5 ahead of New Zealand's Jonny Reid who will start the Feature race from sixth place.

USA's Jonathan Summerton, who finished second in the Mexico Feature race last year to secure the best ever result of his A1GP career, qualified seventh. He will be joined on the fourth row by Portugal's Filipe Albuquerque, who is enjoying a strong weekend in Mexico City, which is only his second A1GP event.

Home nation A1 Team Mexico's David Garza will start the Feature race from the back of the grid as he was not able to set a competitive lap time in Q4 due to spinning off and hitting the wall at the famous Peraltada corner.

France's Jonathan Cochet endured another difficult session as well and will start the Feature race from 14th alongside the Netherlands' Jeroen Bleekemolen.

"This was just very bad," said Jeroen. "The strange thing was that we actually started quite well with a not perfect lap. With that we were in sixth and when you are able to make some progression in driving and the car you are in a good position.

"However, we only got slower and that just does not make sense at all. That's where it went wrong. You have to be quicker every time out on new tyres. One, because you learn to drive with new tyres, this you have not done to much over the weekend so far and two, because you can improve the car. We have to find out where the problem is."

Sunday's Sprint race in Mexico City will start at 11.00 hours and the 70-minute Feature race will start at 15.00 hours [all times local].

 

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