A1 Team Brazil fought back valiantly to score four strong points in today's Feature race at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia. A frightening crash at the start of the Sprint event saw the retirement of Felipe Guimaraes and meant a race against time for the team to fix the car in time for the afternoon's main event.
Ahead of the start of the race, Brazil lined up in 14th position after they gained one place on the grid due to a penalty handed to Australia. As the pack neared the end of their formation lap on the main straight and appeared to prepare to pick up pace, it then backed off, causing a concertina effect which saw Marco Andretti plough his USA car into the rear of the India car and Brazil's Guimaraes going into the rear of Andretti, lifting the car up into the air above the USA and India cars and putting an immediate end to the race for all three cars.
A1 Team Brazil did a stellar job in the few hours between races to fix the damage sustained in the accident to line up 12th on the grid for the 34-lap feature race. Felipe made a very good start, gaining three places up to ninth by the end of the first lap. A safety car was deployed on lap two to remove the India car from the edge of the track, and racing resumed on lap three. Later on the lap he passed Great Britain for eighth but was back to ninth on lap five as South Africa overtook him. Brazil made its first compulsory pitstop on lap 12 and, after passing China on lap 14 and a drive-through for the Netherlands, took up seventh position. He was up to sixth on lap 16 after Malaysia pitted unexpectedly, but lost a place to New Zealand after his second pitstop on lap 23. He crossed the finish line in a strong seventh place, collecting his first four points for Brazil.
The 2008/09 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport will now take a nine week break, with the racing action resuming in earnest at Taupo in New Zealand, for the ever popular event, which will take place 23-25 January 2009.
Sprint Race: "From where I was I could see that everyone was going and obviously USA could see the same. Unfortunately India seemed to brake and we had nowhere to go. It's absolutely terrible, there's nothing else to say. This weekend was obviously not for me as we have had problems since Friday."
Feature Race: "I'm really happy with the result after what happened this morning. My team did a great job to get the car ready and I made a good start, had a good race and I think I was there with the lap times throughout. It's a great result after the problems we've had all weekend and I have to say a big thank you to the team for all their work. Now we have to concentrate on getting ready for the next race where I hope we can continue to achieve a better form for the team."
Emerson Fittipaldi, Team Principal: "I'm very pleased that we finished the weekend on a positive note and I have to thank the team for the level of professionalism and hard work they have shown this weekend. They did a fantastic job to get the car ready for the feature race, Felipe did a very good job and we ran a strong race. I'm very happy."
1. Switzerland (Neel Jani)
2. France (Loic Duval)
3. New Zealand (Earl Bamber)
DNF. Brazil (Felipe Guimaraes)
1. Ireland (Adam Carroll)
2. Portugal (Filipe Albuquerque)
3. USA (Marco Andretti)
7. Brazil (Felipe Guimaraes)