RACING NEWS

India Wins as GBR Takes Home Race Podium in A1GP Finale

India Wins as GBR Takes Home Race Podium in A1GP Finale image

Text: / Photos: | posted April 04, 2006 00:00

A1 Team India secured its second win of the season when Narain Karthikeyan took victory in the Brands Hatch season finale Feature race this afternoon while GBR's Robbie Kerr notched up another home race podium after a beautiful drive, just losing out to India during the second round of pit stops.

Twenty-eight-year-old Kerr maintained his second place grid spot behind Karthikeyan at the start, pressuring the race leader in the opening stages of the 48-lap race. When India and third-placed Ireland made their first mandatory pit stop on lap eight, GBR opted to stay out in clean air and come in on lap nine. After a fantastic pit stop from the British crew, Kerr rejoined in the lead ahead of India and Ireland. The British racer held P1 until his second compulsory stop on lap 32 when he emerged just behind India to rejoin the action in second. Kerr was unable to pass Karthikeyan during the remaining laps and went on to cross the line second and secure third place overall for GBR in the final championship standings.

Newly crowned A1GP champion A1 Team Switzerland's Neel Jani joined India and GBR on the podium in third position, the Swiss racer's 11th podium finish of the season, while China's Congfu Cheng finished in a superb fourth place after a great weekend at a circuit he knows well from his British F3 days.

Fifth place was taken by Franck Montagny, helping France secure fourth position in the championship. Montagny was followed across the line by the Netherlands' Jeroen Bleekemolen in a solid sixth, moving the Dutch team into seventh overall in the championship, four points ahead of Germany in eighth.

New Zealand's Jonny Reid did just enough to secure second in the championship behind Switzerland, who took the prestigious title honours this morning. Reid carved his way through the pack from 17th to seventh during the course of the 48-lap race, partly due to swift work in the pits from the New Zealand squad. Portugal's Filipe Albuquerque snatched seventh from the Kiwi with just four laps remaining, demoting Reid to eighth at the chequered flag, which was enough to take second in the championship, beating GBR by just one point for the second consecutive season.

Indonesia's Satrio Hermanto crossed the line 10th to score his nation's first point this season. Hermanto put in a superb effort to hang onto the final points-paying position, after last lap pressure from the Czech Republic and South Africa.

Ireland's Adam Carroll, who was on course for another podium finish after a sterling drive to third in the Sprint race this morning, crossed the line 13th to secure sixth in the final championship standings. Carroll got a great start and ran in third for the first part of the race, before losing his car's front wing and being forced to pit for repairs outside the compulsory pit stop windows. The Northern Irish star was clearly pushing hard after rejoining in 18th on lap 20, setting the fastest lap of the race on lap 44.

Defending champion A1 Team Germany endured a disappointing end to season three, finishing eighth in the overall standings. Michael Ammermüller finished 11th in the Sprint race and 19th in the Feature, after a puncture just 10 laps from the end, when he was running in third place, ruined his chances of a podium position this afternoon.

Australia's John Martin and Pakistan's Adam Khan were involved in a racing incident on lap two of the Feature race, which put them both out of the action early and brought out the safety car for six laps.

Today's Feature race marked the end of an era as it was the 64th and final race outing for the Zytek-powered A1GP Lola cars. From season four onwards, Ferrari will manufacture and supply the A1GP engines and consult on the design and manufacture of the A1GP chassis. The first round of season four will take place at the Mugello circuit in Italy on 19-21 September 2008.