A1 Team Germany clinches second place and expands championship lead
Willi Weber's A1 Team Germany further expanded its lead in the A1 Grand Prix series in difficult weather conditions. In the fifth round of the season in Indonesia, Nico Hulkenberg from Emmerich, after leading the race up to lap 25, claimed second place as the track was drying off. The German team expanded its advantage on the Sentul track in the A1 GP World Cup of Motorsport by six to twelve points.
With position three on the grid, A1 Team Germany had managed to secure a good starting base. At the start of the sprint race, however, Nico Hulkenberg lost two positions to the teams from Mexico and the USA. On the third lap the Australian team with Ryan Briscoe passed the German A1 Grand Prix racing car, as well, when a gear got jammed during upshifting. When Briscoe attacked the American Phil Giebler on the 15th and final lap, Hulkenberg used the opportunity and re-captured fifth place. This earned him two points and he remained the leader of the table with a four-point advantage.
Like two weeks before, the main race was hit by monsoon rain prior to the start and had to be delayed. Nico Hulkenberg improved from fifth place to second position. When Jonny Reid from New Zealand, who was running in front, made a braking mistake, Hulkenberg took the lead on lap six and developed a more than 20-second advantage up to his first pit stop on lap 17. On the second set of rain tyres, though, the 19-year-old youngster consistently lost time until his closest rival Jonny Reid from New Zealand overtook the German car on lap 26.
For this reason, A1 Team Germany pitted again three laps later in order to mount a third set of tyres -- slicks this time. In the process, an air hose at the left rear power wrench broke, causing the team to lose twelve seconds. Thereafter the 520-hp racing car of the German team was running in second place with a roughly 16-second gap to the front runner when Team Great Britain got off the track, triggering a safety car phase. This caused the front of the field to close up again within a few seconds of each other. The race, however, was only released again shortly before the end. As the runner-up, Nico Hulkenberg was merely 1.1 seconds behind the winner. After ten single races since October, this brings A1 Team Germany's tally to four podium positions: two victories and two second places went to Willi Weber's team.
"We expanded the lead in the standings, that's why I can be very happy with second place. In the sprint race I lost three places. When a gear got jammed while I was upshifting, another position was lost -- to Australia. But later I overtook this rival again under braking. In the main race visibility was even worse than in the previous race in Malaysia. When Jonny Reid made a braking mistake, I took the lead. Unfortunately the car handled very strangely on the second set of tyres and I slid off the track once. So we changed again, but a power wrench got jammed in the process. Towards the end I decided to play it safe and followed Jonny across the finish line."
"Congratulations to Nico on his sensational performance. He was fantastic in the rain yet again and, despite a second pit stop and a problem with the power wrench, he finished as the runner-up. Before the race we promised to give a rebuttal to our critics on the track -- and we managed to do that. We even doubled our advantage to the British team in the standings. However, that's no reason to be more defensive in the sixth round in New Zealand in January. On the contrary: this result will motivate us to fight for victory again."
-credit: team germany