RACING NEWS

Malaysia completes double victory at Brno

Malaysia completes double victory at Brno image

Text: / Photos: | posted October 29, 2005 10:00

A1 Team Malaysia secured a double victory today in Brno as Alex Yoong added the Feature race spoils to his Sprint race win. A1 Team Czech Republic's Tomas Enge clinched second position, with Mexican Salvador Duran completing the podium in third.

Malaysian Yoong started the race from pole position, however a lightning start from A1 Team Canada dropped him back to second after the first corner. Rookie James Hinchcliffe belied his relative lack of A1GP experience as he pulled out a five second gap over the next 15 laps. Yoong however kept in touch and was finally able to seize his chance on lap 32 when Hinchcliffe ran slightly wide through turn eight. As Hinchcliffe was pitched into a spin, Yoong powered up the inside to snatch the lead. Yoong credited his Canadian rookie rival, "James defended quite hard but he was fair. I had a four second gap to him after the pit stop and I knew he was about two tenths of a second per lap faster, so the most important thing was to keep in touch and see what happened. When he ran wide I got through and took the lead. I'm really happy with the weekend's results, the team did a great job for both races."

Hinchcliffe was able to rejoin after his spin, but with dirty tyres he was soon caught by the chasing cars of Czech Enge and Mexican Duran and dropped to fourth. Germany's Nico Hülkenberg similarly saw his opportunity and squeezed past the Canadian into fourth. Hinchcliffe kept his composure to hold fifth until the flag despite heavy pressure from A1 Team Great Britain's Robbie Kerr and New Zealand's Jonny Reid.

The 28,000 Czech fans that had crowded into the natural amphitheatre surrounding the Brno circuit were delighted to see Tomas Enge secure the Czech team's first podium finish of the season. Thanks to a slick tyre change on lap nine, the Czech was able to squeeze past Duran when the Mexican pitted two laps later. Duran pushed Enge hard to regain position, but the Brno specialist kept his line until the finish. "It was a strong performance," Enge said, "I had to get used to the car again after so long away, I had to get used to a new engineer, but everyone did a great job and I'm really happy with the result. I don't know if I'll celebrate too much tonight though - it's been a tough week!"

Duran enjoyed his battle with the Czech ace, "I followed Tomas all the way, the team did a great pit stop and it was so close when I came out the pit lane, but we were just a little too late and lost the position. We had a strong weekend though, the car was very demanding but it was awesome."

A1 Team Germany retained their championship lead, thanks to 19-year-old Hülkenberg's charge up the field to fourth position from 16th on the grid. The German rookie flew off the line to ninth after the first corner and pushed ahead of Great Britain into eighth on lap 14. An error by A1 Team China's Congfu Cheng on the following lap allowed both Germany and Great Britain into fifth and sixth respectively and able to captialise on Hinchcliffe's misfortune in the latter stages of the race.

Great Britain, New Zealand and China completed the top eight, however a notable absence from the top ten were defending 2005/06 A1GP champions France whose challenging weekend continued when Nicolas Lapierre retired on the first lap with engine troubles.