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A1 GP: France dominates in Malaysia

2005-11-21 10:33

Peter Burroughes

France won the 30-lap (166.2 km) feature race (the team's sixth in a row) by 2.47s from Great Britain and 3.01s ahead of Switzerland and setting the fastest lap time (1m 55.37s).

France, with eight successive race wins, have now accumulated over a million dollars (US) in prize money.

Premat's win was so dominant he only used one of his eight PowerBoosts that give the driver a brief 20 kW extra power.

In a race that saw several closely-fought battles and some skilful overtaking, Stephen Simpson finished a satisfying 12th after starting from the pitlane.

Team South Africa was unable to complete repairs to the electrical problem in the short time between the two races and this meant Vulindlela could not take its 21st place on the grid.

South Africa ran as high as 11th before the mandatory pit stop for four new tyres, taken on lap 18 and completed in good time by the team.

Made up places

This dropped Simpson to 18th and he steadily made up places as the race wore on.

By lap 24 he was up to 14th and threatening Australia (Will Davison) who had started at the back of the grid.

Unlike some of the others, Simpson was undeterred by a brief rain shower over part of the circuit and found himself in 12th place, still behind Australia, with two laps to go.

Simpson: "I really enjoyed driving on this circuit and had it not been for our electrical problem, I'm sure we would have had a much more satisfying result in the sprint race.

"This would have meant a better position on the starting grid for the feature race, where I believe we were due another top 10 finish."

The electrical problem manifested itself during the sprint race which preceded the feature race, Simpson rolling to a halt on lap 10 with an electrical problem that shut off all power.

Good start

He had made a good start from 13th on the grid and passed four cars before the first corner, but dropped back to 15th by the end of the lap after being slowed by a first lap incident involving three cars.

Dana Cooper, CEO Team South Africa: "We saw this weekend that the A1 Grand Prix of Nations series has grown quickly into an exciting sporting spectacle, with closer racing, more overtaking and new drivers finishing in the top 10.

"The sense of national pride was particularly evident here in Malaysia, where team seat holder and principal driver Alex Yoong is as much a hero to his countryman as Jos Verstappen is to the Dutch fans (many of whom travel to every race to support 'Jos the Boss').

"With the South African round of the series just two months away, I am excited at the prospect of South Africans turning out in their thousands in Durban for the series? only street race.

"We're going to put on a typically South African show, colourful, vibrant and - hopefully - as good as the best we?ve seen in the five countries we've visited so far.

"We want the A1GP family to remember South Africa with pleasure and to come back again to visit our beautiful and unique country."

Results feature race

1 France 1h 00m 06,49s; 2 Switzerland +4,55s; 3 Czech Republic (Tomas Enge) +15,68s; 4 Italy (Enrico Toccacelo) 23,78s; 5 Malaysia +3,64s; 6 New Zealand (Matt Halliday) +32,69s; 7 USA (Bryan Herta) +33,33s; 8 Germany (Timo Scheider) +35,38s; 9 Ireland (Ralph Firman) +35,74s; 10 Brazil (Nelson Piquet Jr) +39,38s.

Fastest lap: Netherlands, 1m 56s.

Points after five rounds of 12:

1 France 92; 2 Switzerland 65; 3 Brazil 60; 4 New Zealand 42; 5 Great Britain 38; 6 Malaysia 32; 7 Netherlands 32; 8 Ireland 29; 9 Portugal 29; 10 Australia 26; 11 Canada 20; 12 Mexico 16; 13 Czech Republic 16; 14 USA 13; 15 Italy 12; 16 Germany 11; 17 Japan 6; 18 South Africa 6; 19 Indonesia 5; 20 Pakistan 4; 21 Austria 1.

Results sprint race

1 France (Alexandre Premat) 29m 21,54s; 2 Switzerland (Neel Jani) +1,23s;3 Great Britain (Robbie Kerr) +5,06s; 4 Brazil (Nelson Piquet Jr) +6,79s; 5 Netherlands (Jos Verstappen) +7,97s; 6 New Zealand (Matt Halliday) 13,16s; 7 Ireland (Ralph Firman ) +13,88s; 8 Malaysia (Alex Yoong) +15,78s; 9 Portugal (Alvare Parente) +20,39s; 10 USA (Bryan Herta) +20,84s. Fastest lap: France, 1m 55,37s.


Another setback for SA at A1

2005-11-20 12:29

Inside Wheels24

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