A1 drivers test out Estoril circuit

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src=' ' class='caption'> The teams and drivers endured good and bad weather conditions in the practice sessions at Estoril on Friday.

updated: February 25, 2007 10:48 IST
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Estoril, Portugal:

The teams and drivers endured good and bad weather conditions in the practice sessions at Estoril on Friday in preparation for Sunday's A1 Grand Prix of Nations in Portugal. A1 Team Russia decided to sit out Round Two in Germany as they strove to find a fresh driver line-up to really challenge for top placings in the A1 Grand Prix of Nations. Estoril will see their re-emergence with 25-year-old Alexander Turumin and 18-year-old Mikhail Aleshin. Powerful cars Turumin has over five years of top flight competitive racing experience in sports cars and single seaters while Aleshin has rocketed to fame in the Russian motorsport scene. Friday proved to be a difficult time to get a first taste of the powerful cars. Rain before the first free practice session and a drying track caused problems for all the teams. A1 Team Portugal were one of the first to get out on slick tyres as track conditions improved. Debut outing Nelson Piquet Junior for A1 Team Brazil once again showed his ability with some quick lap times despite the tricky conditions. A1 Team Australia gave a debut outing to Will Davison and he took the time to set up the car for wet conditions. The Australian number one driver for this week, Christian Jones, was due to run the car in the second session, but more rain meant A1 Team Australia decided to keep the car in the garage. A1 Team Germany achieved a promising result at their home race in Lausitz two weeks ago. On that occasion Timo Scheider was behind the wheel. This time the main driver will be Adrian Sutil and once again he showed the German improvement was team wide, as once again they ran very strongly. Just like in Germany, the team to beat might well be A1 Team France. Alexandre Premat performed very well in the first race at Brands Hatch only to stall on the starting grid in the Feature Race. Two weeks ago, Premat's teammate Nicolas Lapierre took the honours in both the Sprint and Feature races. Premat is getting another opportunity in Estoril and while the track was drying, he produced the quickest lap time. Slippery conditions The second free practice session was also disrupted by wet weather. Heavy rain delayed the start by 25 minutes and when the cars did take to the track the slippery conditions made consistent lap times an impossibility. Some teams did venture out to gain some set up information in case Saturday's qualifying is rain effected, but even the most experienced found to their cost how difficult it is to handle a 550 horsepower car in torrential rain. (AP)