Beijing: Team Germany race report

Gearbox failure robs A1 Team Germany of second win On the A1 Grand Prix series' unusual third race weekend in Beijing, the Willi Weber managed A1 Team Germany dropped from first to second in the championship table due to a technical defect....

Gearbox failure robs A1 Team Germany of second win

On the A1 Grand Prix series' unusual third race weekend in Beijing, the Willi Weber managed A1 Team Germany dropped from first to second in the championship table due to a technical defect. After only a single practice session has been held owing to the fact that essential circuit modifications had to be made, nominated driver Nicolas Hulkenberg started and finished fifth in the sprint race. In the main race that followed, he took the lead nine laps from the finish, but retired on the same lap due to gearbox failure. The situation at the head of the leaderboard remains tight: Mexico leads with 24 points, followed by Germany with 22 and Great Britain with 20 points.

The sprint race ran without drama for Nico Hulkenberg. The results from Saturday's free practice were used to determine the starting grid after qualifying was cancelled to allow essential circuit modifications to be completed. A1 Team Germany started from fifth position. Because overtaking around the short, tight and twisty 2.2 kilometre Jingkai street circuit was almost impossible Nico Hulkenberg retained fifth place in the sprint race, which was interrupted by a long safety car period. There were no changes in position amongst the leading six teams.

Hulkenberg started the race in the powerful 520 hp A1 Grand Prix car in fifth place. On lap 13 he took fourth place. DS Motorsport proved its tactical and mechanical skills once again at the pit stop on lap 22: Following the extremely efficient mandatory tyre change the 19-year old "star of tomorrow" from Emmerich overtook the team from Italy, even though he was obstructed when leaving the pit lane by Team Great Britain, which had parked directly in front of him to make its stop. Afterwards, A1 Team Germany held second position behind leader Jeroen Bleekemolen from Team Holland. When the Dutchman made a driving error, A1 Team Germany briefly took the lead on lap 54. Only a few corners later the A1 Team Germany car, which is technically identical with every other car in the field, came to a halt with gearbox failure.

Nicolas Hulkenberg:
"We could have taken our second win today after having won the opening round in Zandvoort. Unfortunately, technology prevented such a result, since the gearshift paddle didn't work on the down change and the car was stuck in fifth gear. It goes without saying that I'm extremely disappointed about this. We could have increased our championship lead in China, but we are now only second. However, after only three from twelve races the title race is still wide open. We have to get over this setback. At the next race in Malaysia we can fight to get back to the top of the standings. And this is precisely our intention."

Willi Weber:
"Even under the toughest of conditions with very little testing time and, as a result, extremely unfavourable circumstances the team and Nico Hulkenberg demonstrated just what they are capable of. They were a mere ten laps away from A1 Team Germany's second victory of the season, when technology intervened. It is very disappointing, particularly as it was the first defect of a previously very reliable car. Nevertheless, we won't let this distract us. A1 Team Germany numbers among the top teams in the A1 Grand Prix series this year. We have the opportunity again in a fortnight to turn the tide for our benefit."

-credit: a1 team germany

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Series A1GP
Drivers Jeroen Bleekemolen , Nico Hulkenberg