New Zealand Takes Sublime Sprint Race Win
Czech Republic - A1 Team New Zealand's Jonny Reid raced to a sensational victory at Brno this morning at round two of the 2007/08 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport season in the Czech Republic, dominating from the first corner to the end of the 10 lap race. Great Britain's Robbie Kerr and Ireland's A1GP debutant Adam Carroll joined Reid on the podium in second and third position respectively.
Reid raises fist at the line
Reid took the advantage from second on the grid on the run into the first corner of the Sprint race in perfect weather conditions, as pole-sitter South Africa fell back three places to fourth behind a thrilling scrap for second between A1 Team Great Britain and Ireland.
Kerr managed to hold off the Irish rookie but the pair continued to battle and make contact as Reid started to streak away in 'Black Beauty', edging out a two second lead by the end of lap three. The 23-year-old racer from Auckland was never under threat as the pack settled down behind him and concentrated on their own fights for on-track position.
(L to R) Kerr, Reid and Carroll
Nicolas Lapierre made an incredible start in the French car, carving his way through the field from 10th place to sixth behind the Netherlands' Jeroen Bleekemolen on the opening lap. The Frenchman made several attempts to snatch fifth from the Dutch star but the pair remained in fifth and sixth position behind fourth-placed Adrian Zaugg when they crossed the line.
German rookie Christian Vietoris managed to hold off the more experienced Neel Jani in the Swiss car, taking seventh place and a valuable four points. Portugal's Joao Urbano and China's Congfu Cheng took the final points-paying positions, finishing ninth and tenth respectively.
Reid went on to win the 10 lap race by a commanding six seconds from second-placed Kerr, closely followed by Carroll in third, who was sensational in his maiden A1GP race.
Commenting on his fourth A1GP race win, Reid said:
'We made a good start, South Africa was slightly in front of me and then I just pulled in close and got a bit of draft and I was on a good line for the breaking area. South Africa had to defend from Great Britain and I was able to go right around the outside. The guys are working so hard this weekend and we've got to keep a good balance on the car. We are out there to win and we're looking forward to the Feature race for sure.'
Following Great Britain's winning start to the season at Zandvoort two weeks ago, Kerr was pleased to finish on the podium and pick up some more championship points for Team GBR. The 28-year-old said:
'I was on the tighter line going into the first corner which didn't give me the exit and allowed Adam to come round the outside. It was a brave move by Adam and he pulled it off well, but then going into the next corner I knew I had to get ahead. I knew the car had the front grip to do it and Adam tried to come back, but unfortunately for him we both ran out of room and I took position. It was a great first lap and great battling with Adam. I'm just looking forward to the Feature race now. We need to make a few improvements to the car but we know what we've got to do. We're fairly happy with where we are.'
Carroll, who suffered from damage sustained to the Irish charger during his first lap tussle with GBR's Robbie Kerr, was delighted to score A1 Team Ireland's first podium finish since the Portugal Feature race in season one:
'It was pretty good. I got a good tow off Jonny down into turn one on the PowerBoost. The guys held quite a tight line so with the slipstream I was able to pull out and actually get right up alongside Jonny. I went into turn one and Robbie was tight and I just went around the outside. I think that's when he hit the bump on the inside that forced the rear of the car out and he tapped me, and that's what put me a little bit wide.'
On whether this was just beginner's luck, Carroll commented:
'We're not going to need luck this year, we're going to do it on pace because the guys have done such a good job. They're working really hard and for the Feature race, even though we're starting down at the back, hopefully we will have the pace and we can come through to a good position.'
Canada's James Hinchcliffe was on fine form, quietly climbing from 20th on the grid and staying out of trouble to finish 12th behind Brazil's Sergio Jimenez.
It was a quiet race for home nation rookie driver Erik Janis who brought the Czech Republic car home in 18th position having started the 20 minute race in 21st.
Ian Dyk was forced to park the Australian car in the garage on lap three after it was hit by debris when A1 Team Lebanon ran wide directly in front of him. The car sustained considerable damage but A1 Team Australia are confident they will be able to repair it in time for the Feature race, which starts at 15:00 this afternoon.
Sprint race results
Fastest lap: A1 Team New Zealand set the fastest lap (1m48.438s) of the Sprint race on lap five.