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Ireland Dominate Chengdu Sprint Race

A1GP
Saturday, November 08, 2008

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Adam Carroll celebrates his Sprint race win
A1GP

Chengdu, China – Adam Carroll drove a faultless race to take A1 Team Ireland’s second series victory in Chengdu, China today. A1 Team Netherlands , Robert Doornbos came home a comfortable second, while Danny Watts held off a fierce challenge from Switzerland’s Neel Jani to claim the final podium position for A1 Team Great Britain.

As the cars came round the final corner for the rolling start, Carroll controlled the pack with Netherlands’ Doornbos making a good start alongside him to challenge into the first corner. Carroll held his line and by the end of the first lap had built up a 0.918s lead which he never looked in danger of relinquishing.

It an was impressive drive from Robert Doornbos on his debut for A1 Team Netherland’s taking a comfortable second position, the team’s best result in 19 races.

(L to R) Doornbos (2nd), Carroll (1st ) and Watts (3rd)
A1GP
A1 Team Great Britain’s Watts, also having his first A1GP race, made a move around the outside of Switzerland’s Jani to take third position off the start and began to pull out a small gap.

In the closing laps of the 18-lap race, the battle for third began to heat up as Switzerland’s Jani closed in on the British car. Watts’ advantage over the Swiss driver was down to 0.686 seconds and Jani was preparing to make a move. In the final two laps the tension mounted but the experienced Watts held position, taking the first points of the season for A1 Team GBR.

Adam Carroll leads before a sparse crowd
A1GP
Out at the front Carroll’s superb drive saw the Celtic Tiger cross the line two seconds ahead of the chasing pack, the  dominance underlined as he continued to set fastest lap after fastest lap, eventually taking the extra point for his efforts on lap 16, a 1m 16.084s.

South Africa’s Adrian Zaugg brought Vulindlela home in fifth ahead of Portugal’s Filipe Albuquerque. New Zealand’s Chris van der Drift, also on his race debut, brought Black Beauty home in the final points-paying position.

China’s Ho-Pin Tung had a spin on the first lap putting him further down the order. He made his way back to a lowly 17th and is looking to improve in front of his home crowd in this afternoon’s Feature race.

Brazil had electrical problems causing it to drop down the order and at one point stop out on track but, as the safety car waited on stand-by, Felipe Guimarães managed to crawl back to the pit lane.

“It’s brilliant,” said Carroll  “The guy’s have worked so hard and were due the results and this year I think we are going to get what we deserve.

“I managed to get into turn one first and tried control it from there,” said Ireland’s Carroll. “Obviously, I knew Robert was going to be very quick and pushing extremely hard so I just kept my head down and tried not to make any mistakes, I know it’s going to be a pretty long race this afternoon.”

Doornbos commented: “It feels good, obviously, it’s the best impression you can make. We started strong, just missing pole by six thousandths, and in the race it was the same. We kept each other alive going into turn one, which is important because there is another race, but with second place, I am very happy. I think we had a strong pace compared to the rest of the field so we can be proud of this result.”

Great Britain’s Danny Watts said: “It’s a great result and a great reward for all the hard work all the boys have put in over the week, because they have put in a massive amount of hours through the nights. The third place is good points on the board.

“I had a good move round the outside of Jani at the first corner and I just had to pursue it. After that it was just a case of trying to hold onto the back of these two (Carroll and Doornbos). I had to keep it clean and tidy and not let Jani by again.”

The cars now prepare for this afternoon’s Feature race. Great Britain is on pole and hoping to take victory from Ireland, who are also starting from the front row and will be eager to make it back onto the top step of the podium.

Sprint race results

Pos A1 Team Driver Laps Time Gap First
1 IRELAND Adam CARROLL 18 22:58.470 -
2 NETHERLANDS Robert DOORNBOS 18 23:00.507 2.037
3 GREAT BRITAIN Danny WATTS 18 23:12.831 14.361
4 SWITZERLAND Neel JANI 18 23:13.089 14.619
5 SOUTH AFRICA Adrian ZAUGG 18 23:18.578 20.108
6 PORTUGAL Filipe ALBUQUERQUE 18 23:18.945 20.475
7 NEW ZEALAND Chris VAN DER DRIFT 18 23:25.694 27.224
8 FRANCE Nicolas PROST 18 23:26.393 27.923
9 MONACO Clivio PICCIONE 18 23:28.848 30.378
10 INDIA Narain KARTHIKEYAN 18 23:30.738 32.268
11 AUSTRALIA John MARTIN 18 23:31.668 33.198
12 LEBANON Daniel MORAD 18 23:32.763 34.293
13 MALAYSIA Fairuz FAUZY 18 23:33.125 34.655
14 ITALY Edoardo PISCOPO 18 23:35.011 36.541
15 USA Marco ANDRETTI 18 23:36.572 38.102
16 MEXICO David GARZA 18 23:40.981 42.511
17 CHINA Ho Pin TUNG 18 23:48.081 49.611
18 INDONESIA Satrio HERMANTO 18 24:02.598 +1:04.128
19 KOREA Jin Woo HWANG 18 24:04.641 +1:06.171
20 BRAZIL Felipe GUIMARAES 14 23:49.356 4 Laps

Fastest lap: A1 Team IRL set the fastest lap (1m16.084s) of the Sprint race with a speed of 157.6 kph on lap 17.

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