The first day's running for the A1 GP World Cup of Motorsport at Eastern Creek saw a new lap record set at the Sydney race venue after Nelson Piquet pulled a blinder in the early running of the first practice session.

Piquet put in a lap time of 1min 19.266secs in the early dry running of the first session of the race weekend, a time that was a second faster than second fastest man out on track, Salvador Duran for Team Mexico and some three seconds faster than the old Formula Holden lap record at the track.

The session was soon greeted by rain meaning no faster times would be set and the conditions saw much slower running in the second hour-long session of the day.

"It was a good lap," confirmed Piquet. "The car seemed very good and I did a good lap with no traffic. We did a qualifying simulation and just went for it and it was good."

The track is new to much of the A1 GP field, and it certainly met approval from the Brazilian driver. "Eastern Creek is quite a good circuit, and it's not that easy," he explains. "It's quite abrasive on the tyres so we have to make sure we get a good set-up for the races so we can make the tyres last throughout the races. Some of the corners are a bit dangerous as there is not a lot of space and not much run-off so it's quite tough which is the kind I like."

Watching on was seat holder Emerson Fittipaldi who was pleased with the performance.

"It has been a good day for us," said the two time Formula One champion. "Nelson was quick from the beginning and was consistently quick in both sessions. We tried some different things on the car and the team tried to adapt the car to the track.

"I am very happy with the speed we have and the way the team are working. We have learnt about the car and the track and tomorrow we should be fast again. In the morning we will do some fine tuning on the car in the final free practice ready for qualifying."



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