Podium joy for A1 Team Brasil and Jimenez A1 Team Brasil is today celebrating an incredible result after Sergio Jimenez drove to second place in this afternoon's feature race at the Sepang circuit in Malaysia. It is the Brazilian squad's ...
Podium joy for A1 Team Brasil and Jimenez
A1 Team Brasil is today celebrating an incredible result after Sergio Jimenez drove to second place in this afternoon's feature race at the Sepang circuit in Malaysia. It is the Brazilian squad's best result since Nelson Piquet Jr took second in the sprint race in Estoril 2005, some 45 races ago. The result at A1GP's 50th race elevates Team Brasil to ninth in the standings with 22 points.
The day started positively as Sergio improved two places on his seventh place starting spot to finish the 10-lap sprint race in fifth position, collecting six valuable points. The result came after a great start from Sergio, who moved past Teams New Zealand and GBR on the first lap. He pushed Team Canada hard for fourth on the final lap, but crossed the line in fifth.
However, it was in the feature race that Sergio and the team shined. Starting from sixth, Sergio made an incredible start to move up to third after the first corner behind only the dominant Team Switzerland and Team France. A huge battle with France's Loic Duval ensued with Sergio briefly taking second before Duval snatched it back. On lap eight the safety car was deployed and, after some slick pit work from the Brasil crew, Sergio emerged a whisker ahead of Team Switzerland to take the lead of the race.
Starting his second stint on new tyres, Sergio was able to pull out a decent gap over Neel Jani after the restart on lap ten. The 23-year-old from Sao Paulo started to face pressure on lap 18 but fought valiantly to retain his lead. He made his second compulsory pitstop on lap 26 but, with Jani pitting two laps previously and starting his final stint on brand new rubber, Sergio lost his lead in the stop and emerged in second place. He passed the chequered flag in searing heat in second to take the podium place and ten points.
The fourth round of the 2007/08 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport will take place in Zhuhai, China on 16 December.
Sergio Jimenez: "The main race was very tough but I'm really happy with the result. I made a very good start, jumped to third and didn't let Switzerland and France get too far ahead of me. In the first pitstop the boys did an amazing job and I was able to take the lead. We had a different strategy to Switzerland because we used our new tyres in the middle stint while they used theirs in the last one. Because of that I was able to put in some good laps after the first stop and Neel never caught me too closely. The second stop was also very good but obviously Neel had the new tyres after that. Anyway, we have worked so hard together as a team this weekend and it has paid off, so this result is for the boys and for Emerson, who has given me a great opportunity here in A1GP."
Emerson Fittipaldi, Team Principal: "Sergio did an amazing job because although we had a good car, it was not as fast as Switzerland or France, who have found a special set up here in Malaysia. The pit crew also did a fantastic job and everyone is working very hard. It's been a long time since we've had such a good result and in Sergio we have found a very good driver who can repeat the same kind of results we were having with Nelson Piquet Jr in season one. A1 Team Brasil is back!"