Team Great Britain's Robbie Kerr emerged on top of qualifying at Sentul ahead of round eight of the A1 Grand Prix series, handing team boss John Surtees a welcome birthday present in the shape of the squad's first pole position.

The team took advantage of the changing circuit conditions, and taking calculated risks with the tyres with another tropical storm threatening the Indonesian venue. Britain and biggest rivals France were the only teams to use old tyres in the first session, which allowed them to maximise new tyres in the second and third sessions when the track improved.

While France blew their first run when Nicolas Lapierre went off, Kerr put in a solid banker lap. Improvements in the second and third sessions then proved key for the former British F3 champion to overhaul Lapierre's two fastest lap, the Briton going on to set the fastest lap of the day by completing his third run in 1min 16.927secs and becoming the only driver to break the 1min 17secs mark.

Kerr also went on to post the fastest time of the fourth and final session but, with the first drops of rain arriving the run was largely meaningless as his second and third efforts proved enough to secure pole position.

"I'm really happy, this was a great result - we've all worked very hard to achieve this," he said afterwards, "The prospect of rain was always an underlying pressure, but we timed it right, took risks, and clearly made the best decisions."

Although the rain held off for qualifying, Kerr and the Arden-run GB team know that the conditions at Sentul could deteriorate over night. However, despite the threat of two wet races on Sunday, all remain confident that Britain can edge closer to its maiden A1GP win.

"The conditions have meant that we are now confident of performing in the rain," Kerr said, "We have a few things to work on, and I'm now going to sit down with the engineers and put together a winning strategy. I'm happy with the circuit, I'm putting in competitive times - and I'm having a great time!"

Asked whether he could make inroads into Team Brazil's slim points lead in the battle for third place in the championship, particularly given that Christian Fittipaldi had only qualified a lowly 21st, Kerr admitted that he was up for the challenge.

"I'm looking ahead, and will concentrate on the job in hand," he insisted, "Fittipaldi's got a big name - let's see if he can live up to it."



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