Kerr wins sprint race for British team
Shanghai, China - A1 Team Great Britain has taken its second consecutive victory in A1GP and the first win for main driver Robbie Kerr, putting the team on pole for this afternoon's A1GP Shanghai, China Feature race. With the PowerBoost on as the car left the grid, Great Britain took the lead into the first corner and built up an advantage that looked comfortable throughout the race.
'It's an excellent job. We did all the hard work yesterday getting out with P1 and then just trying to keep it steady throughout the race, and that what we did. We set a nice consistent pace, and finally we got one!' said British driver Robbie Kerr.
Commenting on his first race win in A1GP, Kerr continued: 'I'm a bit numb at the minute, I don't know what to think to be honest. To be on P1 for the Feature race and that's the all important focus now. Try not to celebrate the Sprint race now, we can do that tonight.'
While the top three maintained their positions off the start line, aggressive moves from Switzerland and Malaysia saw them climb to fifth and sixth respectively while towards the back of the grid, Ireland and Australia also gained places.
Germany's Nico Hülkenberg, who is looking to win the season this weekend, instantly started his attack on the USA's Jonathan Summerton for third and as the two cars headed in to turn six Germany made its move. The USA defended, holding its position for seconds longer until Germany attacked again, taking third into turn 13. Unfortunately that was not to be the end of the battles for the USA as Switzerland quickly took advantage, going round the outside of the 'We the People' car, relegating the USA to a fifth place finish.
As the race continued, the field maintained its line up with GBR leading, New Zealand, Germany, Switzerland, the USA, Malaysia and India. Germany continued to close the gap on the two leaders, on occasions lapping faster than GBR but it was not enough to put the car in position to make a serious move on New Zealand's Black Beauty.
With Malaysia having backed off from the USA, it then came under attack from India's Narain Karthikeyan who was looking to regain some of the ground lost on the opening lap. Malaysia's Alex Yoong demonstrated his experience of the track that saw him win last year's Feature race in Shanghai, defending well to maintain sixth.
It was when France made its move on Canada for eighth that the action began again as Jean Karl Vernay tried to tuck the tricolor car up the inside of McIntosh, touching his front wheel on Canada's rear and knocking the two off course. Just as it seemed both drivers had regained control of their cars and would continue on track, a puncture picked up by Vernay became apparent and he pulled the car off the track on the final corner. Canada also suffered a puncture and was forced to retire at the end of the lap.
The race finished with Great Britain, New Zealand, Germany, Switzerland, the USA and Malaysia all adding to their points total.
Talking about his potential to now snatch the championship title from Germany, New Zealand's Jonny Reid said: 'It's a long shot, but motorsport is motorsport and I've seen funnier things happen at the end of a championship before.' On his race performance, he added: 'I ran out of laps, sure we have got a great car, so I'm very confident that with a longer race, and the team are doing a fantastic job, so we have to be confident for the Feature race.'
The final step on the podium was taken by current championship leader, Germany. Driver Nico Hülkenberg said: 'The start was not too good actually, I got on the rev monitor and then I didn't lose a place and then I caught up with the USA, Jonathon at the end of this race, so it was good. I have to get four more points (to win the championship) and we will try our best to catch these two and try to give our best.'
In actual fact, A1 Team Germany need only two more points to win the 2006/07 championship.
For home team China, the Sprint race saw them move one place up the grid for this afternoon's Feature race when they will start in 11th position, just outside the potential points group.
Sprint race results
Pos Driver A1 Team Laps Gap First
1 Robbie KERR GREAT BRITAIN 10 -
2 Jonny REID NEW ZEALAND 10 +0.385
3 Nico HÜLKENBERG GERMANY 10 +2.515
4 Sebastien BUEMI SWITZERLAND 10 +6.123
5 Jonathan SUMMERTON USA 10 +7.107
6 Alex YOONG MALAYSIA 10 +11.157
7 Narain KARTHIKEYAN INDIA 10 +11.826
8 Alan VAN DER MERWE SOUTH AFRICA 10 +16.753
9 Renger VAN DER ZANDE NETHERLANDS 10 +17.137
10 Enrico TOCCACELO ITALY 10 +18.201
11 Congfu CHENG CHINA 10 +18.790
12 Richard LYONS IRELAND 10 +19.407
13 Ananda MIKOLA INDONESIA 10 +21.555
14 Vitor MEIRA BRAZIL 10 +24.231
15 Sergio PEREZ MEXICO 10 +25.046
16 Ian DYK AUSTRALIA 10 +28.852
17 Filip SALAQUARDA CZECH REPUBLIC 10 +29.091
18 Allam KHODAIR LEBANON 10 +30.482
19 Joao URBANO PORTUGAL 10 +33.789
20 Nur ALI PAKISTAN 10 +49.433
21 Sean McINTOSH CANADA 7 3 Laps
22 Jean Karl VERNAY FRANCE 7 3 Laps
Fastest lap: A1 Team New Zealand set the fastest lap (1.36.033) of the Sprint race with a speed of 172.6 kph on lap seven of the race.