A tough day in Shanghai for A1 France

A1 Team France had a difficult day here on the Shanghai circuit in China during qualifying forthe second-last round of A1GP, World Cup of Motorsport.

Franck Montagny continued learning the car in the morning’s free practice. In the afternoonhe couldn’t find any grip on new tyres: he will start from 18 th place for the short race tomorrowand from 10 th on the grid for the long one.

A1 Team France will have its work cut out to score points in the Sprint race, but things will beeasier in the Feature event, which includes 2 refuelling stops. In addition, the car has beenvery competitive on worn rubber all weekend and Franck is happy with its handling in thisset-up. The team is concentrating on preparing for the races and is going out there to fight. Itintends to leave China having added a few more points to its score.

Olivier Panis, sporting director: “It wasn’t quite the Saturday we were hoping for! But weknew it would a tough call. Asking Franck to drive our car without having been able to do anytesting before the weekend’s races was risky. The A1 car is very special and even the bestdrivers need time to get used to it. The rest of the weekend looks difficult, but Franck’sexperience should pay off in the races. We’ve still in there with a chance!”

Franck Montagny, driver: “I did my best today but I couldn’t find enough grip on new tyres.The car demands a very specific type of driving which forced me to readapt my style

completely. It doesn’t like rough handling, hates late braking and generates low aero grip. Iwould have needed more than 40 laps and several sets of tyres to really get the hang of it.I’m going to analyse the data we’ve collected to adapt my style for the two races tomorrow.We can take advantage of the long race and we’re still as motivated as at the start of theweekend.”