Half the field appeared to top the timing sheets during Saturday morning's last official practice session of the A1 Grand Prix of Nations season at Shanghai International Circuit, but it was Team Indonesia's Ananda Mikola that claimed the honours before qualifying.

New champions France joined USA, Great Britain, Mexico, Canada, New Zealand, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Australia, South Africa and, finally, Indonesia in spending time at the top of the table, bringing the year to a close with probably the most competitive sessions of all.

Mikola eventually put in the fastest lap of the session with a time of 1min 52.418secs, demonstrating how the first A1GP season has seen the development of some of the less well known motorsport nations, but not quite matching the best time of the weekend so far, posted by France's Nicolas Lapierre on Friday. The French team was the only on to feature a different driver at the wheel of its car in final practice, having carried through its plan to give both Lapierre and team-mate Alex Premat track time at the finale. Premat will continue into the afternoon qualifying session, before each driver takes a race apiece on Sunday to complete a memorable year.

British newcomer Darren Manning again underlined his potential to give John Surtees' team a maiden win with another second place performance, but Laguna Seca winner Mexico continued to snap at the exhausts of the red, white and blue Lola. Premat could only manage fifth spot for France, with Patrick Carpentier claiming fourth for an improving Canada squad.

The top ten was completed by the Czech Republic, Ireland, Malaysia, Australia and Brazil, with Christian Fittipaldi showing a dramatic upturn in performance for the latter by jumping from 21st to tenth overnight.

The only team keeping Brazil off the bottom on Friday also improved its position, with German newcomer Sebastian Stahl rising to 20th at the expense of Team USA's Phil Giebler and Pakistan's Adam Khan, who clearly had problems as he struggled to a 2min 05secs best lap.

All 22 teams have now nominated their drivers for qualifying, with no surprises.

Australia Ryan Briscoe Austria Mathias Lauda Brazil Christian Fittipaldi Canada Patrick Carpentier China Tengyi Jiang Czech Republic Tomas EngeFrance Alexandre Premat Germany Sebastian Stahl Great Britain Darren Manning Indonesia Ananda Mikola Ireland Michael Devaney Italy Enrico Toccacelo Lebanon Graham Rahal Malaysia Alex Yoong Mexico Salvador Duran Netherlands Jos Verstappen New Zealand Matt Halliday Portugal Cesar Campanico South Africa Stephen Simpson Switzerland Giorgio Mondini USA Phil Giebler

 

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