Sentul, Indonesia - A1 Team France has taken pole position for the Indonesian Feature race after overtaking Britain's Robbie Kerr at the end of the first lap. The move set the order for the top three teams that was to continue throughout the race...
Sentul, Indonesia - A1 Team France has taken pole position for the Indonesian Feature race after overtaking Britain's Robbie Kerr at the end of the first lap. The move set the order for the top three teams that was to continue throughout the race but battles further down the field gave the excited crowds the competition they came to see.
The action began as the cars left the grid with Canada being the first victim after contact with Malaysia meant they pitted at the end of the first lap and retired. New Zealand's 'Black Beauty' climbed up from tenth on the grid to seventh in the first lap, starting an assault on Ireland that was to continue until Durban race winner, Dutchman Jos Verstappen, took the opportunity to split the pair on lap 15.
A1 Team Italy made an unsuccessful move on Portugal on lap four going wide in turn three and hitting the gravel. Driver, Max Busnelli, got the car back on track but lost several places which he failed to regain. Shortly after, A1 Team China pulled off the track in lap six with suspected gearbox problems.
Drivers made the most of A1 Grand Prix's unique PowerBoost button to snatch vital places throughout the race. A1 Team Malaysia's Alex Yoong, one of the few drivers with experience of the Sentul track, used his extra 30bhp to steal fourth place from Switzerland on lap eight but it was when Timo Scheider in the German car used his PowerBoost to take eleventh place from Indonesian hero, Ananda Mikola in front of the grandstand that the groans of disappointment were audible.
A1 Teams Brazil and South Africa finished the race several laps down after being forced to pit. South Africa went in at the end of the first lap after the bonding on the front wing failed allowing it to rub on the left tyre but after both were changed he rejoined the race only to pit again on lap three when the oil light came on. Brazil pitted at the end of lap six for a front tyre change.
Six times race winner Nicolas Lapierre said: 'We worked hard on the car in warm up and made a few changes. It was quite difficult with the tyres, and I pushed hard to pass Robbie. Fortunately I had a really good balance on the car until the end. At the beginning of the race it was difficult to open up a gap to Robbie but as he began to defend against Salvador it got easier and by the end I was able to build up quite a big gap. I'm really pleased and just waiting for the next race.'
Speaking about difficult weather conditions at the track, Nicolas said 'It is very difficult, the humidity is bad and it is very hot. It wasn't too bad in this race, but the next race is long and it will be much more difficult for all the drivers and mechanics.'
Finishing second for the fifth time, Great Britain's Robbie Kerr was unable to turn his pole position into a win in the Sprint race but was still positive about his prospects in the Feature race. 'The car was good and qualifying was good, unfortunately it didn't last. The balance went away throughout the race, and the car became quite difficult. There are still good possibilities for the next race, and I aim to finish at the front. We were close in this race, but not close enough.' Second did, however, move A1 Team Great Britain up to third in the points standing.
Scoring Mexico's first podium finish since the season opener at Brands Hatch, Salvador Duran was happy with his third place. 'I'm very happy, and could even have finished second. The car was good although at the end there was a bit of oversteer. We are able to finish in the points again in the Feature race.'