It was all Team New Zealand today at Sentul International Circuit, as Jonny Reid took the Feature race victory in the A1 Grand Prix event for the team, following up on his Sprint race win earlier today. Jonny Reid leads Nico ...
It was all Team New Zealand today at Sentul International Circuit, as Jonny Reid took the Feature race victory in the A1 Grand Prix event for the team, following up on his Sprint race win earlier today.
Starting from the pole with dark skies and a wet track, Reid withstood first-lap pressure from Team Mexico's Salvador Duran and Team Great Britain's Robbie Kerr, but it was Nico Hulkenberg (Team Germany) who proved to be the real threat to the Kiwi dominance.
Reid fended off the first attempts by Hulkenberg, but on the second lap, the German car forced its way past in turn three, with Hulkenberg steadily pulling away.
"I got a pretty good start and was immediately behind Jonny," Hulkenberg recounted. "I could see nothing, it was so hard to work out the braking points and that was why it took so long until I overtook Jonny or he made a mistake."
As the race developed, the track was not yet drying out, as the teams were forced to either stay with wets or gamble on slick tires as the first mandatory pit-stop window arrived.
"On my second set of tyres I made a mistake," the German admitted. "I don't know what was wrong, but the car was much worse. I had oversteer, understeer and it was just much, much worse than before."
The second stop, then, on a drying circuit, was what set the stage for Reid's triumph. With Hulkenberg stopping for a set of slicks early, on lap 30, Reid stayed out for another three laps, proving that the wets still held an advantage for a few moments, as he clocked three quick times -- and then exited the pits in first place once again.
"After the start of the race I was struggling quite a lot," the young Kiwi explained. "At the (first) pit stop we made a change and the car was much, much better as you could see in the lap times. I snatched back the lead (at the second stop) and pushed hard to get a gap."
The British team lost fourth place, as well as a lot of ground to Germany in the points battle, as Kerr ran off the track at turn four on the 39th lap, stalling his car and triggering a safety car period. The team was finally classified as 17th.
That allowed Italy, which had started well back in 15th grid position, to take fourth place, followed by Netherlands, Malaysia, Mexico and Czech Republic.
Germany still leads the championship standings, but now by double the margin, 12 points, over Great Britain. The two leaders are closely followed by Mexico, France and the resurgent New Zealand team, with Malaysia having dropped from third to sixth.
Please also see our Sprint race story:
New Zealand lands first series win in Sentul Sprint