Beijing's already bedevilled street race took another knock ahead of the scheduled Friday practice sessions, with no running taking place as teams discussed circuit revisions with A1GP organisers.

Friday's regular rookie sessions, which precede this weekend's third championship round in the Chinese capital were eventually cancelled following issues with the layout of the 3.104km street circuit. Located in the city's economic and technology zone, the original circuit raised several issues following a first running of the A1GP cars late on Friday afternoon.

The circuit has been designed specifically for the A1GP event and was not tested prior to Friday's activities. Although some doubt surrounded the viability of the event until shortly before it was to take place, particularly while a layout and a venue could not be decided, the teams flew out to China ready to compete as normal in what is the first of two A1GP rounds in China this season.

Two cars experienced minor incidents at the tight turn eight hairpin, causing the session to be red-flagged, and, even after some realignment of the section, the problem of getting around the corner without difficulty proved to be unresolved. Team Netherlands rookie Renger van der Zande was among those to have safely negotiated the turn, but admitted that it was very tight.

"The circuit itself is quite nice, the hairpin is the only problem," he reported, "I managed to get through, but others did not. Added to that, there was no grip. This is a street circuit,where there are road cars driving normally, and the track is very dusty and dirty. Because it rained last night, it became even more slippery."

Series and circuit officials are now in discussions to resolve the situation ahead of Saturday's planned practice and qualifying sessions, and took the decision to run the lower-powered local Super Touring support race ahead of the A1GP practice sessions to familiarise circuit officials with procedures and check the viability of the layout.

 

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