Hinchcliffe confident ahead of Australian qualifying
2 February 2007 – A1 Team Canada's James Hinchcliffe remains confident he can maintain his top-ten qualifying record on Saturday ahead of Round 7 of the 2006-07 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport at Australia's Eastern Creek International Raceway.
Having lost his 'newcomer' status after wracking up more than six race starts this season, the 20-year-old Toronto racer wasn't eligible to participate in Friday morning's Rookie-Only session at the 3.93km Sydney circuit so was limited to just one hour's running time in the afternoon's Official Practice.
Hinchcliffe, with eight top-ten qualifying starts to his credit in A1GP this season, spent the first half of the session breaking in a new 550bhp, Zytek V8 engine in the Canadian entry before getting down to set-up work ahead of Saturday's four timed qualifying runs, the fastest two of which form an aggregate time to set the grid order for Sunday morning's 20-minute Sprint race.
"To be honest the session went a little better than I thought it would," stated Hinchcliffe. "The balance of the car was pretty good towards the end of the day and although we're in the lower section of the timesheets I don't think we're as far off the lead times as we might appear.
"We always seem to get there when it counts in qualifying so I'm confident we can get ourselves back up the order tomorrow. We had a new engine in the car today so I had to take a few laps to break it in and with the race surface here at Eastern Creek I think we ended up wasting the best of the tires which didn't help either."