From the moment the cars crossed the start line it was a three way rush to the first corner with France on the inside, Brazil in the middle and Switzerland on the outside. France won this race and the one that saw Alexandre Premat’s car take the chequered flag 18 laps later.
A1 Team France’s Alexandre Premat said: ‘It was a very good race, I used the PowerBoost quite a lot. In the first corner I passed Nelson, I went up the inside and braked very late, and the car was great. I hope to do just as well in the second race. The PowerBoost button is really good. If you are close to the car in front, it helps you overtake. It’s a great idea. I hope to win both races today, as Nelson did at Brands Hatch and Nicolas did at EuroSpeedway.’
It was a very short-lived race for Australia, Mexico and Pakistan as in the second turn an accident saw all three cars retire after going off into the gravel trap. While France was never challenged, there were some fine battles going on further down the field. Germany was the target for Great Britain with the two battling for twelth position. This battle came to an end when the Irish car clipped the rear of Great Britain and forced Robbie Kerr to pull off with a right-rear puncture. A1 Team Ireland was then forced to pit for over a minute for a new front wing so was out of contention for series points.
However, A1 Team Germany’s Adrian Sutil, in his first race of the Series was not allowed any breathing space as ‘We the People’ representing the USA was soon on his tail and making every effort to overtake. Despite them swapping places at one point, it was the German car that crossed the line to claim twelfth spot.
Another driver having his first A1 Grand Prix race, Basil Shaaban for A1 Team Lebanon had a great tussle with A1 Team Austria in the closing laps but lost out and finished eighteenth.
A1 Team Netherlands had their best finish to date as Jos Verstappen managed to take two positions going into the first corner and this gave the usual large contingent of Dutch fans something to shout about.
Pos. A1 Team Driver Time
1 France Alexandre Premat 27.46.488
2 Brazil Nelson Piquet Jr 27.48.543
3 Switzerland Neel Jani 27.49.777
4 Netherlands Jos Verstappen 27.59.973
5 Czech Republic Tomas Enge 28.00.416
6 Portugal Alvaro Parente 28.05.149
7 Canada Sean McIntosh 28.07.785
8 Malaysia Fairuz Fauzy 28.18.641
9 Indonesia Ananda Mikola 28.23.855
10 South Africa Tomas Scheckter 28.26.210
11 Italy Enrico Toccacelo 28.26.581
12 Germany Adrian Sutil 28.28.314
13 USA Scott Speed 28.28.403
14 New Zealand Matt Halliday 28.29.666
15 Russia Mikhail Aleshin 28.38.156
16 Austria Mathias Lauda 28.53.215
17 India Armaan Ebrahim 28.55.302
18 Lebanon Basil Shaaban 29.02.610
19 Ireland Ralph Firman 17 laps
20 Great Britain Robbie Kerr 5 laps
21 China Tengyi Jiang 1 lap
22 Australia Will Davison 0 laps
23 Mexico Salvador Duran 0 laps
24 Pakistan Adam Khan 0 laps
Commenting on his race, A1 Team Brazil’s Nelson Piquet Jr said: ‘The start was quite messy to be honest, the pace car stayed in front for quite a long time, I didn’t know what was happening. It moved at the last moment and Alex just came out from nowhere. I had to give him space as he braked really late into the corner, I have to say he had a very strong race. We have to go and improve now and make a few changes for the next race.’
Neel Jani of A1 Team Switzerland said: ‘That start wasn’t too bad, I was alongside Nelson, and I passed him half way through the corner, but I had to stay on the outside as he was very close. We are in a good position for the second race, and I’m looking forward to it.’
A1 Grand Prix
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