Team Monaco struggled to find a comfortable set-up during official practice for round two of the A1GP World Cup of Motosport 2008/9 at the Chengdu International Circuit this afternoon.
Out on track from the start of the session in dry and sunny conditions, Team Monaco targeted set-up and ride quality. The 3.4kms track at Chengdu is extremely bumpy, technical and twisting, therefore driver comfort must be taken into account as well as drivability. Significant changes were made to the car to try to improve handling throughout the session, but the team could not find a balance that Clivio was happy with. With Team Monaco unable to participate in the morning rookie session due to Clivio’s previous participation the GP2 series, the team is at a distinct disadvantage with Friday running limited to the final practice.
During a session interrupted by sporadic red flag situations Clivio set a fastest lap time of 1:18.233. It was defending champions Team Switzerland and Neel Jani who topped the timesheet with a fastest lap time of 1:16.349, with Nicolas Prost (France) in second, and Narain Karthikeyan (India) in third position.
Clivio Piccione: “It was a really disappointing session. Because of the handling of the car it feels like the tyres are not working and we cannot get the maximum grip, so it is really difficult to push. In the quick parts of the track it is really bumpy and slippery and the car was snappy and suffering from understeer. We need a very aggressive therapy to move forward as we will not go anywhere like this. We will look at the data and analyse my feedback and sensations felt in the car to try to come up with a master plan for tomorrow. It is a tricky track and I think that set-up is key, so we will try to do as much as we can overnight.”
Graham Taylor, Team Principal: “It has been a challenging afternoon. Unfortunately we do not have a rookie driver and as a result we miss out on information gained by teams running in the morning session. We have a lot to do overnight as we are not happy with the balance of the car and hope for a better day tomorrow.”