Doornbos Takes Sprint Race Victory in Portugal
Robert Doornbos (pictured right) took his maiden victory for A1 Team Netherlands this morning after a red flag prematurely ended the Sprint race of Vodafone A1GP Algarve, Portugal.
Ireland’s Adam Carroll brought the Celtic Tiger home a comfortable second and also claimed a point for fastest lap to retake the championship lead from Switzerland while home favorite Filipe Albuquerque took the final podium position much to the delight of the Portuguese crowd.
Doornbos made a clean start to take the lead from Italian pole-sitter Vitantonio Liuzzi, while Ireland’s Adam Carroll held on to third as the field headed through turn one for the first time.
Just behind the leaders, New Zealand’s Earl Bamber came across the track in front of Lebanon’s Daniel Morad, with the Kiwi landing himself in the gravel and out of the race. Germany’s Andre Lotterer then also came together with Lebanon while trying to go around the outside of the hairpin, ending his race with significant damage to the left rear of his car. The two incidents resulted in the Safety Car being deployed before the end of lap one.
The order was now the Netherlands leading from Italy, Ireland, Portugal, Monaco, India, Malaysia, Brazil, Mexico and USA. The race re-started on lap four with Liuzzi looking to find a way passed Doornbos, while Australia’s John Martin got ahead of USA’s Marco Andretti to take ninth into the first corner.
With the pit stop window now open, race-leader Doornbos was the first man to head in for his first scheduled stop of the day. Monaco, India, Brazil, Great Britain and China followed with the Brazil car clipping a tire held by one of the Chinese mechanics as Felipe Guimarães’ exited his pit box. The tire flew down the pit lane but was recovered by the team, although the incident delayed the China pit stop dropping them down the field.
A lap later Italy, Ireland and Portugal dived into the pit lane and great stops from the Irish and Portuguese teams saw their cars exit the pit lane ahead of the Italian.
Championship leader Switzerland had a difficult start to the day. After starting from the back of the grid due to not setting a time in qualifying yesterday, Neel Jani stayed out late before pitting right at the end of the pit stop window. The Swiss driver rejoined in a points’ paying position however, the pit stop was deemed too late by the stewards and the team were awarded a time penalty which dropped them down to an eventual fifteenth.
Doornbos had built up a healthy lead out in front before a crash involving Felipe Guimarães’ Brazilian car and South Africa’s Adrian Zaugg brought out the red flags with three laps remaining. Doornbos claimed his first victory for the Netherlands while Ireland and Portugal completed the podium. Ireland’s extra point for Carroll’s fastest lap of 1m31.404s helped the team re-established itself at the top of the championship standings.
“From first practice onwards we were aiming for this,” said the Netherlands’ Doornbos. “The target is the big one though, and that is where we’ve got the pole so we’re in a strong position for this afternoon. To get my first win for the team is great and it keeps us in the championship hunt as well, so it’s good.
“I got a good run on Antonio (Liuzzi). At the safety car restart and I pulled away with a nice gap and then afterwards cruised it home so it was a good morning. I came especially for this race. It is the last one I can do this season for A1 Team Netherlands so I’m very keen on making my mark and to leave with some fireworks this afternoon.”
Ireland’s Adam Carroll said: “That’s just what we needed. We got a good start. I’m sure it was tight down into the first few turns but I got through and was able to settle down.
“The guys did a really good pit stop, which allowed us to jump Italy and then push on. I think I actually got fastest lap as well. It was very, very close. But that’s some more points and it was a great race. It’s going to be a long Feature race this afternoon but hopefully we can do the same.”
Portugal’s Filipe Albuquerque said: “This means a lot. I gave my word to the Portuguese that a win or podium would be fantastic. Yesterday qualifying was not great but finally I was able to get a podium. I am very happy and to decrease the distance to Neel Jani in the championship is good.
“I managed to overtake Lebanon which was definitely my goal at the start. I managed to catch Adam Carroll but not by enough in the first lap, however, I think it was a good start.
“The boys did a good job (in the pit stop). When I passed Italy I knew that was the podium because I was faster than him.”
Sprint Race Results
Fastest lap: A1 Team Ireland set the fastest lap (1m31.404s) of the Sprint race with a speed of 184.6kph on lap 8.
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