A1 Team Brazil’s Nelson Piquet Jr was top of the pops in the first day of practice for the A1 Grand Prix of Nations, Eastern Creek, but A1 Team China suffered a day of opposite fortune, ending up with an £80,000 wreck and a night’s work to build up their second car in time for Saturday’s final practice session and qualifying.
Tengyi Jiang lost control of the team’s new car on a damp, claiming to have been tipped off after being unsettled by a bump, hitting the tyre wall side-on at Turn 5. The impact was measured at precisely 100mph and data-logging shows that the 20-year-old driver was exerting 1000psi of brake pressure on impact. Team engineer Rob Arnott said that trying to exert even as much as 750psi would normally feel hard enough to break your foot.
Fortunately the impact was side-on, spreading the load, but it was still violent to wipe off the entire left-hand side of the car, the nosebox, front and rear wings and pretty much all of the bodywork. The gearbox was also written off and the engine damaged. Fortunately, the monocoque remained did its job perfectly in protecting Tengyi and remained undamaged. The only other parts that could be salvaged were the right-hand sidepod and radiator.
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