RACING NEWS

Switzerland Wins Dramatic Durban Feature Race

Switzerland Wins Dramatic Durban Feature Race image

Text: / Photos: courtesy of A1GP | posted March 14, 2008 07:00

Title leader A1 Team Switzerland dominated the action in Durban this afternoon to win the incident-packed Feature race, as the tricky turn one claimed numerous victims throughout the 48-lap race. Today's results move the Swiss team 10 points ahead of France in the championship standings while New Zealand now lies third, having scored a meagre two points after enduring a frustrating weekend in South Africa.

Superb work by the French team in the pits helped Loic Duval on his way to securing second place behind Switzerland, an incredible feat considering the Frenchman only arrived at the track from Japan on Saturday morning and qualified eighth. Portuguese rookie Filipe Albuquerque wowed the crowds by racing to third position from ninth on the grid, taking an impressive first podium on his A1GP debut.

With just nine laps remaining, Canada's Robert Wickens, who was on great form and running in second for much of the race, spun out at turn one and was hit by GBR's Oliver Jarvis as he rounded the tight hairpin and could not avoid the Canadian car. The incident brought out the safety car and no sooner had the race restarted than it was all over due to am ambitious move from local hero Adrian Zaugg.

The South African driver, who started 15th, had climbed to seventh when he made a determined dive down the inside at turn one and hit the unlucky Jeroen Bleekemolen in the Dutch car, causing a major pile up involving five cars. Bleekemolen was out of the race, which continued for a short period under the safety car, but still classified in fourth position when the race was brought to a premature end by a red flag.

It was the third time during the Feature race that a multi-car incident at turn one led to a safety car period when the field squeezed through the tight hairpin eager to take advantage of one of the few overtaking spots on the narrow street circuit.

Malaysia's Fairuz Fauzy had a superb afternoon, making his way through the field to finish fifth, having started from 12th on the grid. China's Congfu Cheng was also on impressive form, racing from 11th to sixth and collecting a bonus point for setting the fastest lap.

Khalil Beschir was heartbroken as the Lebanese driver was on course to score his nation's first ever championship point when the race was red-flagged with just one lap remaining.

Switzerland leaves Durban on 118 points ahead of France on 108 and New Zealand on 98, as the thrilling nation versus nation series heads to Mexico City for round eight of the 10-event championship on 14-16 March 2008.