Nelson Piquet takes the double for Brazil

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Nelson Piquet takes the double for Brazil

Team Brazil opened the inaugural A1 Grand Prix race with a resounding double victory, with Nelson Piquet Jr. easily taking wins in both the sprint and the feature race at Brands Hatch. Nelson A. Piquet. Photo by xpb.cc. The new...

Team Brazil opened the inaugural A1 Grand Prix race with a resounding double victory, with Nelson Piquet Jr. easily taking wins in both the sprint and the feature race at Brands Hatch.

Nelson A. Piquet.
Photo by xpb.cc.
The new series, uniquely based on the concept of national teams, features 25 national teams competing in 12 races across the globe, largely during the winter months when series like Formula One and GP2 are taking a few months off.

Piquet, who has been driving in GP2 this year, started the sprint race from pole, and motored off into the distance in his car, decked out in the Brazilian national colors, leaving Matt Halliday (New Zealand) and Alexandre Premat (France) to fight things out for second place.

"I am really really happy, it feels like my first race win," Piquet said after the sprint race. "I am especially happy after all the effort the team put in in such a short time to bring it all together. The only way I could have been more dominant was by opening a larger gap to Alex but he was quite close to me for most of the race and our pace was similar."

Matt Halliday and Nelson A. Piquet.
Photo by Sutton Motorsport Images.
Premat passed Halliday, who had started on the front row next to Piquet, on the first lap, and that was really all that happened at the front of the field in the sprint -- the much-anticipated extra-boost button didn't result in much passing in the first outing.

Will Power (Australia), Robbie Kerr (Great Britain) and Salvador Duran (Mexico) finished the first race in fourth, fifth and sixth places, respectively.

In the second, feature, race, Piquet was again comfortably the fastest man in the field, but had to to deal with Australia's Power after his pit stop. In this case, Piquet was able to show some action to the fans, as he drove around the Australian at the Surtees left-hander, and powered off into the distance.

"We had problems with the pit stop and Power managed to leave in front of me so I got a bit worried," Piquet recalled. "My team told me to push very hard until the end so I did and eventually managed to overtake him which I never expected."

Will Power.
Photo by xpb.cc.
In the end, Piquet took the checkered flag for Brazil 11 seconds clear of Australia, with Duran taking third in the Mexican car, just half a second behind Power.

"I'm happy with second as it is a really good result for Australia to be on the podium," the young Aussie said. "At the end of the day we weren't quick enough to win it and it would have been hard to keep Nelson behind me the whole way. When he passed me it was a very good manoeuvre at the end of the day he was by me and there was no use banging wheels."

Halliday took fourth for New Zealand, followed by Malaysia's Alex Yoong and Stephen Simpson (South Africa).

With the double victory -- plus a bonus point for the fastest lap in the second race -- Brazil now leads the series standings with 21 points, followed by Australia at 16 and New Zealand at 15.

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