A1 Grand Prix practiced its first rolling start on Thursday - the second day of the series' Paul Ricard test session. The South African car, driven by Stephen Simpson, improved on Tomas Scheckter's quickest lap time, but remained 14th overall.

A1 Grand Prix practiced its first rolling start on Thursday - the second day of the series' Paul Ricard test session. The South African car, driven by Stephen Simpson, improved on Tomas Scheckter's quickest lap time (which the IRL star set on Wednesday), but remained 14th overall out 20 cars in the field.


The United States topped the timesheets again. Red Bull Racing tester and GP2 competitor Scott Speed improved his best lap from Wednesday (1:24,559) to 1:24,177. South African Formula Renualt driver Stephen Simpson improved on the time set by Scheckter on Wednesday (1:26,177). South Africa's best lap, 1:25,757, was 1,580 seconds slower than that of the US, but Simpson said that the team had been "concentrating on doing our own thing and improving the set up of the car".


"The car has been great today. The Team is coming together nicely and I think it's going to be a strong partnership. The car is great to drive. Even round a circuit I don't know I have complete confidence in it, I'm loving being involved in A1 Grand Prix," Simpson was quoted as saying.


Meanwhile, A1 officials announced that Willy Weber, manager of seven-time F1 world champion Michael Schumacher, had been nominated as the seat holder of the German team.


The announcement coincided with A1 Grand Prix's first-ever rolling start. Sixteen A1 cars in full race livery jostled for position over the start line at Paul Ricard in a simulation of the spectacle that could be witnessed at the start of A1 Grand Prix races.


Weber said: "At the beginning, when I heard about A1 Grand Prix, I was sceptical. But now, after what we have seen today, and what I have seen in the past, I can see A1 Grand Prix is a fantastic series. I believe in the idea and it makes me very proud and happy to have the chance to be the team boss of A1 Team Germany".


A1 Grand Prix chief executive Tony Teixeira added: "It is great having Germany involved and we're looking forward to announcing more teams in the coming days giving us a full grid at Brands Hatch. We are over subscribed and the global support we have received is a pleasant surprise."