Hulkenberg takes Sprint race for 5th win
Eastern Creek, Australia - A1 Team Germany has taken its fifth win of the 2006/07 season winning the A1GP Sydney, Australia Sprint race ahead of New Zealand and France, so when the team lines up on pole for the Feature race it will be its fourth consecutive A1GP start from this coveted position.
A1 Team Germany made a clean start to the race, pulling ahead of second placed New Zealand who was immediately put under pressure by Great Britain. After the two cars touched wheels at turn three, New Zealand was forced to concede and the red, white and blue car of Great Britain overtook Black Beauty into turn four.
New Zealand's Jonny Reid said: 'On the first start I had to lift through turn one because Nico was in front and I had pretty much no downforce thanks to going through the disturbed air. I went to defend but Robbie got me on the outside. I gave him racing room but then we touched going through turn three, and I almost held him out as I had the inside line for four and five. It was a bit of luck I was able to come back on the re-start and on the lights I got second. For the next race as usual we are representing our countries so we will both do our best. The championship is at stake so we need to focus on this but we will race hard and fair.'
As the field entered the second lap there was little change from their original starting positions with Netherlands, Malaysia, Czech Republic, Mexico, Singapore, and Australia gaining a couple of positions as the field jostled for position.
A spin from A1 Team Lebanon at turn eight saw the safety car deployed towards the end of lap five, bunching up the field for an exciting finale to the 20 minute race. As the safety car peeled off at the end of lap eight and the pack crossed the start/finish line, New Zealand made its move on Great Britain regaining second place into turn one.
But that was not to be the end of Great Britain's troubles as France made its move, overtaking Britain on the inside as it became increasingly obvious that driver Robbie Kerr was suffering from problems with the car. Mid-way through lap 13, Kerr slammed on the brakes and let the field pass, pulling into the pits with a punctured right front tire, putting them towards the back of the grid for this afternoon's Feature race.
Winning driver Nico Hulkenberg commented: 'I had a good rolling start and a good re-start after the Safety Car, but then it was not that easy as I just tried to focus on myself and push as hard as I could. First of all Jonny and then GBR were pushing from behind. There are some things which are not perfect, but it is hard to get the car perfect here because there is not a lot of rubber on the track, but we will try our best to improve the car.'
A1 Team France's Loic Duval said: 'I made a big mistake at the start of the race. The first corner is quite bumpy and I used three push to passes. The car was not perfect so we have to improve it a bit for this afternoon. We can now improve the car a little so I am sure it will be possible to fight for first place.'
Pos Number Driver Team Laps GapFirst
1 7 Nico HÜLKENBERG GERMANY 14 -
2 19 Jonny REID NEW ZEALAND 14 +2.154
3 6 Loic DUVAL FRANCE 14 +7.831
4 23 Sebastien BUEMI SWITZERLAND 14 +10.885
5 18 Jeroen BLEEKEMOLEN NETHERLANDS 14 +12.137
6 4 Ho-Pin TUNG CHINA 14 +13.092
7 16 Alex YOONG MALAYSIA 14 +13.548
8 25 Philip GIEBLER USA 14 +14.254
9 5 Tomas ENGE CZECH REPUBLIC 14 +14.929
10 12 Richard LYONS IRELAND 14 +15.874
11 17 Salvador DURAN MEXICO 14 +16.336
12 21 Christian MURCHISON SINGAPORE 14 +16.764
13 3 James HINCHCLIFFE CANADA 14 +17.611
14 1 Karl REINDLER AUSTRALIA 14 +17.696
15 13 Enrico TOCCACELO ITALY 14 +19.424
16 22 Alan VAN DER MERWE SOUTH AFRICA 14 +19.814
17 11 Ananda MIKOLA INDONESIA 14 +20.551
18 10 Parthiva SURESHWAREN INDIA 14 +29.228
19 8 Robbie KERR GREAT BRITAIN 13 1 Lap
20 20 Nur ALI PAKISTAN 12 2 Laps
21 2 Tuka ROCHA BRAZIL 11 3 Laps
22 15 Alex KHATEEB LEBANON 5 9 Laps