Two weeks ago Nelson A. Piquet took both victories in the A1GP debut at Brands Hatch, but at this weekend's race at the Lausitz Eurospeedway, it was a French celebration with Nicholas Lapierre winning both the sprint race in a romp for Team ...
Two weeks ago Nelson A. Piquet took both victories in the A1GP debut at Brands Hatch, but at this weekend's race at the Lausitz Eurospeedway, it was a French celebration with Nicholas Lapierre winning both the sprint race in a romp for Team France.
Lapierre, who drove in the GP2 series this year, qualified on the pole position, and took advantage of the boost button in each race to ensure that he converted the starting position into track position.
Neel Jani took second place in the sprint race for Team Switzerland, helped by the elimination of Team USA and Team Great Britain in a first-turn crash that saw both cars retire from the race. Jani finished two seconds behind Lapierre, and less than half a second ahead of Piquet.
Jani had a front-row seat for the incident: "I made quite a good start and I was on the inside. I just saw a lot of smoke so I stayed on the inside and everybody else went out so there was a nice gap for me to go through to second. Through the race, I was not allowed to do any mistakes because Nelson would have overtaken me for sure."
In the feature event, the French team crossed the finish line 3.7 seconds ahead of Team Great Britain's Robbie Kerr.
The team did a fantastic job with the pit stop and with a new set of tyres I was able to really push again," Lapierre described the feature race. "I knew Robbie had started from the back of the grid so when he was close behind me I realised he must have been driving very quickly."
Kerr, the 2002 British F3 champion, drove the race of the weekend, as he had to start from the back of the grid for the second race due to the crash with Team USA's Scott Speed.
"I drove 100 per cent and had no time to rest," Kerr summed up the feature race. "I overtook a lot of cars on the first lap. The team did an excellent job once again. I had an early pit stop and pushed very hard afterwards not knowing what where I would end up. It was only when the safety car came out that I knew I was in P2!"
Sean MacIntosh scored the best result yet for Team Canada with a third place, 1.7 seconds adrift of Kerr, and just half a second ahead of Johnny Reid (New Zealand), with Switzerland's Jani hot on the heels of the pair.
"I had an early pit stop and continued to push throughout the race," the Canadian explained. "I tried hard to catch Robbie. I flat-spotted both of my front tyres so it was a struggle to make sure nobody would get by."
Lapierre's victories moved Team France to 29 points in the championship, but Brazil maintained the lead at 30 points thanks to a bonus point for Piquet's fastest lap in the sprint race.