Monterrey: Sprint race report

Monterrey, Mexico - A clean start to the Mexican Sprint race led quickly to an action-packed half-hour as a collision between A1 Teams Mexico and Ireland saw both cars leave the track on the first lap. The safety car was deployed as the track was...

Monterrey, Mexico - A clean start to the Mexican Sprint race led quickly to an action-packed half-hour as a collision between A1 Teams Mexico and Ireland saw both cars leave the track on the first lap. The safety car was deployed as the track was cleared and the remaining cars took their positions behind it.

Unusually, it was under this safety car session that the next big incident occurred. As the pack headed onto the main straight at the end of lap four Japanese driver, Hayanari Shimoda sped to close the gap between himself and New Zealand's Black Beauty ahead. But as Matt Halliday braked while Shimoda accelerated the two cars collided with Japan flipping over New Zealand's rear, rolling twice before landing upside down on the main straight. Bodywork covered the track and the safety car continued to lead the field as a safe route through the debris was cleared. A1 Team New Zealand headed into the pit lane at the end of lap five and the safety car peeled off one lap later.

As racing began again, the Netherland's Jos Verstappen started his advance through the field, improving on his gains from the opening lap. A1 Team South Africa suffered its second blow of the day, retiring at the end of lap seven with Vulindlela losing power and dropping down the field.

The top four places looked set and the battle moved further down the field as Great Britain's Robbie Kerr edged past experienced Monterrey driver, Patrick Carpentier in the Canadian car. Great Britain moved into tenth place and took on its closest Series' rival, A1 Team Brazil. On lap 13, Kerr made his move, pulling alongside Christian Fittipaldi but as their wheels touched, the red, white and blue car spun, narrowly missing the Canadian he had overtaken just two laps before. A1 Team Brazil continued to race but as the damaged caused in the collision began to slow the car, Great Britain tried again and climbed above Brazil one lap later.

Commenting on A1 Team France's twelfth win, Alexandre Premat said: 'I'm really pleased with the win, but the car was really difficult to drive. There was a lot of understeer and I will have to speak to the engineers to see what we can do for the Feature race. It will be important to get a good start here as it is difficult to overtake. We'll see what happens.'

Second place man, Neel Jani commented: 'It's very difficult to overtake here, and it is so dirty off line there isn't much you can do. It just isn't worth the risk in the Sprint race, as the big race is coming up. Commenting on what will be his last race for A1 Team Switzerland, Neel said: 'I would really like to win the race, we have lead about three Feature races before, some right until the last lap and still not won, so obviously I would like to add a Feature race win to my record.

Finishing third in his first race since Dubai, Enrico Toccacello said: 'We had a great result in Dubai and it's great to be back in the car now. It is the nature of A1GP to try different drivers and focus on the nation, but I'm really glad to be back driving. We starting improving in Malaysia, and got better in Dubai, and I showed in this race that I am fast. We have a good set up and I'm confident for the next race.'

-a1gp-

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About this article
Series A1GP
Drivers Jos Verstappen , Christian Fittipaldi , Robbie Kerr , Hayanari Shimoda , Enrico Toccacello , Neel Jani , Alexandre Prémat , Matt Halliday