A1 Team Netherlands is looking back pleased on the first day of the A1 Grand Prix in Dubai. This morning the team needed some time to determine the right direction, but especially at the end of the second free practice session about the road taken. In the end A1 Team Netherlands managed to end the day inside the top 10.
Jeroen Bleekemolen was the first to go out on track for A1 Team Netherlands this morning, in a special 20 minute test session to test the second Zytek engine. Bleekemolen, who drove here two weeks ago with Spyker, set a 13th fastest time, but nevertheless was pleased with his performance.
Jeroen Bleekemolen; “It was good. Off course I did not drive that much today, because we had the new engine and we had to check everything. You only have 20 minutes, but all went quite well. When I went out on track I was in the top 10 constantly and for a moment even close to the top five. But when I went in again the track became much quicker and others went a bit faster. Anyway, I’m happy to be able to drive again. The first few laps were unbelievable with the sand on the track, a huge spray behind the cars. Every lap the track became between half a second and a full second quicker, so the drivers that were out in the very end went quickest. By then I was back in the pits”.
During the second testsession and the two free practice sessions Jos Verstappen went out for A1 Team Netherlands. At the end of the day Verstappen, for whom this is a new circuit, was pleased with the progression that was made.
Jos Verstappen; “With the sand it’s quite a special track to drive on the limit. I did need a few laps to do that. In the end I felt good and I also think that we are improving the car every time. We tried several things, which we can look at tonight in order to improve further. Let’s hope that tomorrow it will again go better”.
Especially at the end of the second free practice the team found the right direction to go, said Seat Holder Jan Lammers. He is reflecting on today with a pleased feeling, although it did not show in the lap times today.
Jan Lammers; “We hope that we can take another step in improving tomorrow morning. As far as the tyres go, this is a completely different situation then in Malaysia. The tyre wear and degradation are fare less here. That’s very good, because then we can get a reasonable confirmation tomorrow, while using the tyres from today. Only with new tyres you really can tell if what you have done actually will work. With used tyres it’s difficult to get the feedback through the lap times. So tomorrow we will see if our work today will pay off”.
Tomorrow morning the third and final practice session will be held. At 14.15 hrs local time the official qualifying for the A1 Grand Prix of Nations, Dubai will kick off. In four 15 minute sessions, in which each driver is allowed to set one flying lap time, the starting grid for Sunday’s sprint race will be determined.
A1 Team Netherlands