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A1GP Ireland Sets Pace in Friday Practice at Zhuhai

China - A1 Team Ireland took charge in the second of today's two free practice sessions at Zhuhai International Circuit as all 22 drivers experienced the Chinese circuit for the first time in an A1GP car, kicking off round four of the 2007/08 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport season.

Twenty-five-year-old Irish rookie Adam Carroll, who finished fifth fastest in the morning session when the top 12 nations were separated by less than one second, clocked a best lap of 1m23.279s around the 4.3km circuit this afternoon in warm and sunny weather conditions.

Carroll, who is feeling a lot more comfortable in the emerald green car after extensive work on his seat, was encouraged by his team's start to the weekend and is aiming for a strong qualifying performance tomorrow afternoon:

'Obviously it was only practice but it was a good way to start the weekend. We got a pretty good lap on new rubber but I'm sure everyone's going to catch up tomorrow. I'm hoping we can carry the pace all the way through the weekend and get up the front and stay there. I've had some major issues with my seat and we've had to make seven so far. I find it quite hard to get comfortable in the car but now I can really concentrate on driving the car rather than being in pain so it should make a lot of difference.'

Canada's Robert Wickens, who secured the team's first podium finish of the season last time out in Malaysia, finished the day second fastest, half a second off the Irish car.

Having topped the time sheets in this morning's rookie session, defending champion Germany's Michael Ammermuller set the third fastest time of the day, closely followed by the Netherlands's Jeroen Bleekemolen in fourth position overall.

When asked what the secret is to achieve a quick lap around the Zhuhai circuit, Ammermuller said:

'It's quite difficult to make a lot of time up at the high speed corners, you just need to focus on late braking and getting on the power as early as possible on the exit to make sure you get a perfect lap. There are no big secrets at any of the corners. The track was getting quite dusty and dirty in the afternoon as some of the drivers spun off so the conditions were getting worse and that's why nobody was able to improve on the earlier times.'

Home nation A1 Team China's CongFu Cheng, who last drove at Zhuhai in 2002 in a Chinese Formula Renault race, is not eligible to take part in the rookie session and finished the day a strong fifth fastest.

The 23-year-old from Beijing said:

'We were obviously at a bit of a disadvantage not being able to do any running in the rookie session this morning, but we worked through the programme this afternoon and it worked out ok. There is quite a lot of pressure as it's my home event and I haven't raced here for seven years so I'm pleased to be on the pace today, but I'm sure everybody will catch up by tomorrow.'

A1 Team France driver Loic Duval finished the day in sixth place, despite not taking part in the rookie session this morning and limited track time this afternoon due to spinning off half way through the hour.

Official Practice Session 1 - Rookie drivers and developing nations only

POS

A1 TEAM

DRIVER

TIME S1

LAP S1

TIME S2

LAP S2

TIME

GAP FIRST

1

GERMANY

Michael AMMERMÜLLER

01:24.132

14

01:24.135

9

01:24.132

 

2

CANADA

Robert WICKENS

01:25.045

6

01:24.205

3

01:24.205

+0.073

3

BRAZIL

Sergio JIMENEZ

01:24.216

7

01:24.436

6

01:24.216

+0.084

4

GREAT BRITAIN

Danny WATTS

01:24.217

12

01:24.450

5

01:24.217

+0.085

5

SWITZERLAND

Alexandre IMPERATORI

01:24.400

14

01:24.641

13

01:24.400

+0.268

6

AUSTRALIA

John MARTIN

01:24.471

13

01:24.782

4

01:24.471

+0.339

7

IRELAND

Adam CARROLL

01:24.485

8

01:24.548

4

01:24.485

+0.353

8

CZECH REPUBLIC

Erik JANIS

01:24.521

14

01:24.703

12

01:24.521

+0.389

9

USA

Charlie KIMBALL

01:24.716

15

01:24.878

15

01:24.716

+0.584

10

INDONESIA

Satrio HERMANTO

01:25.375

15

01:24.839

13

01:24.839

+0.707

11

ITALY

Edoardo PISCOPO

01:24.907

13

01:25.016

7

01:24.907

+0.775

12

NEW ZEALAND

Earl BAMBER

01:25.494

13

01:25.068

13

01:25.068

+0.936

13

MEXICO

David GARZA

01:25.608

13

01:25.372

14

01:25.372

+1.240

14

SOUTH AFRICA

Wesleigh ORR

01:25.550

5

01:25.495

15

01:25.495

+1.363

15

NETHERLANDS

Arie LUYENDYK

01:25.960

11

01:25.727

7

01:25.727

+1.595

16

INDIA

Parthiva SURESHWAREN

01:26.692

11

01:26.149

13

01:26.149

+2.017

17

PORTUGAL

Gonçalo ARAUJO

01:27.299

12

01:27.218

10

01:27.218

+3.086

18

LEBANON

Khalil BESCHIR

 

0

 

0

 

 

19

MALAYSIA

Aaron LIM

 

0

 

0

 

 

Official Practice session 2 (14.00 - 15.00)

POS

DRIVER

A1 TEAM

TIME

GAP FIRST

 LAPS

1

Adam CARROLL

IRELAND

01:23.279

-

26

2

Robert WICKENS

CANADA

01:23.771

+0.492

10

3

Michael AMMERMÜLLER

GERMANY

01:23.848

+0.569

16

4

Jeroen BLEEKEMOLEN

NETHERLANDS

01:23.891

+0.612

20

5

Congfu CHENG

CHINA

01:23.940

+0.661

25

6

Loic DUVAL

FRANCE

01:23.949

+0.670

13

7

Narain KARTHIKEYAN

INDIA

01:24.111

+0.832

20

8

Satrio HERMANTO

INDONESIA

01:24.119

+0.840

31

9

Sergio JIMENEZ

BRAZIL

01:24.248

+0.969

17

10

Jonny REID

NEW ZEALAND

01:24.265

+0.986

27

11

Neel JANI

SWITZERLAND

01:24.309

+1.030

16

12

Tomas ENGE

CZECH REPUBLIC

01:24.484

+1.205

25

13

Oliver JARVIS

GREAT BRITAIN

01:24.563

+1.284

19

14

Edoardo PISCOPO

ITALY

01:24.593

+1.314

22

15

Alex YOONG

MALAYSIA

01:24.754

+1.475

19

16

David GARZA

MEXICO

01:24.973

+1.694

23

17

Jonathan SUMMERTON

USA

01:24.976

+1.697

24

18

Ian DYK

AUSTRALIA

01:24.991

+1.712

23

19

Adrian ZAUGG

SOUTH AFRICA

01:25.030

+1.751

24

20

Joao URBANO

PORTUGAL

01:25.360

+2.081

24

21

Khalil BESCHIR

LEBANON

01:25.458

+2.179

25

22

Adam KHAN

PAKISTAN

01:25.947

+2.668

25

2009 STARTS HERE

  2009?  2009?????   I can here you ranting about me being insane from here. But yes, testing for 2009 kicked off at Jerez yesterday when F1 cars ran on slick tyres for the first time since the European Grand Prix at the same circuit in 1997.

 

  Bridgestone have supplied all teams with three sets of slicks to evaluate in preparation for the replacement of the grooved tyres and return to slicks in 2009.

Only three drivers used the prototype slicks on day one of testing and even this early in the development cycle they have proved to be worth at least a second a lap around Jerez.

 

  Nick Heidfeld in the BMW Sauber ended up with the fastest time of the day with a 1’19.042 followed by Button in the Honda in 1’19.155. Both were on the slick tyres. The fastest runner on the current grooved tyres was McLaren’s Pedro de la Rosa who set a best time of 1’19.712. Heidfeld’s performance would suggest an improvement of about a second per lap. BMW Sauber were usually about 0.7 of a second behind the McLarens and Ferraris during last season and he finished the day 0.7 seconds up on de la Rosa’s McLaren. Admittedly de la Rosa in not a Hamilton or Alonso but even so, Pedro still finished up three tenths quicker than newly crowned world champ Raikkonen in the Ferrari, so he wasn’t tooling around. The greater leap forward, giving rise to suggestions that the improvement in lap times may be far greater than Heidfeld’s time suggested, was that by Button in the Honda. Hondas were usually about two full seconds off the front running pace last year so when Button ends up half a second faster than the McLarens & Ferraris eyebrows waste no time in shooting skywards.

 

  Button’s time suggests that the difference may be as large as two to two and a half seconds per lap. Early logic would put the improvement somewhere in the middle of these but it will be interesting to see, over the next two days, what the improvement is when the heavy hitters, Hamilton, Raikkonen and Schumacher give the top cars a run.

 

  In other news of note, Nico Hulkenberg had his first run in a F1 car and immediately outpaced his Williams team-mate, newly signed race driver, Kazuki Nakajima. Both had a relatively restricted programme with Nico completing just 28 laps and Nakajima 33. Hulkenberg ended up 3/100ths faster on the day.

 

  Other debuts included Timo Glock, who had his first run in the Toyota setting 13th best time, and BMW Sauber rookies Marco Asmer who easily outpaced Javier Villa.

Giancarlo Fisichella also outpaced Franck Montagny in what is becoming a high powered shoot out for the second Force-India seat. Ralf Schumacher and Vitantonio Liuzzi will be joining that fray later in the test.

 

  In Red Bull land, Sebastien Bourdais was comfortably half a second faster than his Toro-Rosso team-mate Vettel and even pipped Red Bull man Mark Webber by 7/100ths. The Red Bull/Toro Rosso cars finished 6th, 8th and 11th, firmly towards the top of the mid-field which is where they ended the season. Bourdais was just 3/10ths behind Piquet, 5th quickest in the Renault who was a similar margin behind Raikkonen’s Ferrari.

 

Sam Snape

5/12/2007

 

          

A1GP Canada Awarded Sprint Race Podium, France Promoted to Second in Feature Race

Malaysia - Confirmed Sprint and Feature race results

Sprint race
As a result of Germany being demoted to 16th place due to causing an avoidable collision during this morning's Sprint race, Canadian rookie Robert Wickens has scored the team's first podium finish since Brno last season and notched up a valuable 10 points for his country, moving Canada into 12th place in the championship.

Home nation Malaysia scored its first two points by default this morning after Germany's demotion and A1 Team Netherlands' 25-second penalty for a false start in the Sprint race. The penalty dropped them from eighth to 18th in the final Sprint race classification, stripping the team of the three points it had scored. The penalty also meant that Ireland and Italy received an additional two points each.

Feature race
A1 Teams Brazil and Great Britain have both been hit with a two second penalty for gaining an unfair advantage in the pit lane during the first mandatory stop in this afternoon's Feature race, promoting France to second place, USA to tenth and Mexico to 11th.

Germany was penalised with the equivalent time of a drive through penalty for causing an avoidable collision with Great Britain on lap 19 and following a further avoidable collision with the Czech Republic on lap 28, Germany was excluded from the final Feature race results.

Switzerland now leads the championship on 61 points, eight ahead of second-placed France on 53, followed by New Zealand in third on 46.

Sprint race results

Pos

Driver

A1 Team

Laps

Time

Gap First

1

Neel JANI

SWITZERLAND

10

18:20.910

-

2

Loic DUVAL

FRANCE

10

18:24.702

+3.792

3

Robert WICKENS

CANADA

10

18:34.037

+13.127

4

Sergio JIMENEZ

BRAZIL

10

18:34.647

+13.737

5

Jonny REID

NEW ZEALAND

10

18:35.386

+14.476

6

Oliver JARVIS

GREAT BRITAIN

10

18:35.847

+14.937

7

Adam CARROLL

IRELAND

10

18:40.589

+19.679

8

Enrico TOCCACELO

ITALY

10

18:44.131

+23.221

9

Alex YOONG

MALAYSIA

10

18:44.497

+23.587

10

Adrian ZAUGG

SOUTH AFRICA

10

18:46.015

+25.105

11

Narain KARTHIKEYAN

INDIA

10

18:46.114

+25.204

12

Jonathan SUMMERTON

USA

10

18:47.437

+26.527

13

Joao URBANO

PORTUGAL

10

18:48.682

+27.772

14

Chris ALAJAJIAN

LEBANON

10

18:55.031

+34.121

15

Erik JANIS

CZECH REPUBLIC

10

18:57.238

+36.328

16

Michael AMMERMÜLLER

GERMANY

10

18:57.845

+36.935

17

Adam KHAN

PAKISTAN

10

18:58.456

+37.546

18

Satrio HERMANTO

INDONESIA

10

19:05.30

+44.820

19

Michel JOURDAIN

MEXICO

10

19:08.326

+47.416

20

Jeroen BLEEKEMOLEN

NETHERLANDS

10

19:18.237

+57.327

21

Congfu CHENG

CHINA

1

02:08.009

9 Laps

22

Ian DYK

AUSTRALIA

0

 

10 Laps

Feature race results

Pos

Driver

A1 Team

Laps

Time

Gap First

1

Neel JANI

SWITZERLAND

35

1:08:13.459

-

2

Loic DUVAL

FRANCE

35

1:08:22.387

8.928

3

Sergio JIMENEZ

BRAZIL

35

1:08:23.873

8.414

4

Jeroen BLEEKEMOLEN

NETHERLANDS

35

1:08:24.681

11.222

5

Congfu CHENG

CHINA

35

1:08:30.813

17.354

6

Narain KARTHIKEYAN

INDIA

35

1:08:31.053

17.594

7

Adam CARROLL

IRELAND

35

1:08:32.831

19.372

8

Jonny REID

NEW ZEALAND

35

1:08:33.856

20.397

9

Ian DYK

AUSTRALIA

35

1:08:57.753

44.294

10

Jonathan SUMMERTON

USA

35

1:08:58.008

44.549

11

Michel JOURDAIN

MEXICO

35

1:08:58.174

44.715

12

Oliver JARVIS

GREAT BRITAIN

35

1:08:59.818

44.359

13

Alex YOONG

MALAYSIA

35

1:09:02.254

48.795

14

Adam KHAN

PAKISTAN

35

1:09:10.336

56.877

15

Erik JANIS

CZECH REPUBLIC

35

1:09:11.778

58.319

16

Satrio HERMANTO

INDONESIA

35

1:09:34.365

+1:20.906

17

Chris ALAJAJIAN

LEBANON

26

0:53:00.577

9 Laps

18

Enrico TOCCACELO

ITALY

17

0:34:54.917

18 Laps

19

Adrian ZAUGG

SOUTH AFRICA

7

0:13:18.875

28 Laps

20

Robert WICKENS

CANADA

7

0:13:29.020

28 Laps

21

Joao URBANO

PORTUGAL

0

 

35 Laps

22

Michael AMMERMÜLLER

GERMANY

Disqualified

2007/08 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport points standings

Pos

A1 Team

Points

1

SWITZERLAND

61

2

FRANCE

53

3

NEW ZEALAND

46

4

NETHERLANDS

39

5

SOUTH AFRICA

37

6

GREAT BRITAIN

36

7

IRELAND

31

8

BRAZIL

22

9

MEXICO

17

10

CHINA

16

11

GERMANY

14

12

CANADA

10

13

INDIA

8

14

ITALY

4

15

PORTUGAL

2

16

AUSTRALIA

2

17

MALAYSIA

2

18

USA

1

19

CZECH REPUBLIC

1

Fastest lap: A1 Team Switzerland set the fastest lap in both the Sprint and Feature races gaining two bonus points for its efforts. On lap 10 of the Sprint race, Neel Jani clocked a time of 1.49.221 going on to set a time of 1.49.260 on lap 25 of the Feature race.

Next race: A1GP Zhuhai, China, 14-16 December 2007

A1GP Switzerland Storms To Sepang Double Victory

Malaysia - Pole sitter and Sprint race winner A1 Team Switzerland took its second win of the day in this afternoon's incident-packed Feature race at Sepang in scorching weather conditions, moving the team into the championship lead by 10 points. Jani was joined on the podium by Brazilian rookie Sergio Jimenez, who started the race sixth and led for 15 laps, in second position and French driver Loic Duval in third.

Jani made a perfect getaway in the Swiss car as Great Britain's Oliver Jarvis held second off the grid and further down the pack five cars tangled going into turn one. Jani pulled out a 2.5 second advantage by the end of lap one as third and fourth-placed France and Brazil concentrated on making their way past GBR, demoting Jarvis to fourth.

After a second lap tussle for 10th position, New Zealand's Jonny Reid and local hero Malaysia's Alex Yoong were forced to pit for repairs, rejoining the action at the back of the field. Lap five saw German rookie Michael Ammermüller snatch fifth from Ireland's Adam Carroll, who had made another superb start to make up two places from seventh on the grid.

Two laps later eighth-placed South Africa's Adrian Zaugg made a mistake going into turn seven and spun off into the gravel before returning 'Vulindlela' to the track, forcing Canada's Robert Wickens to run wide to avoid him.

The incident brought out the safety car and as the first pit stop window opened on lap eight, 20 of the 22 nations decided to pit under yellow. The crowds watched in amazement as the pack was then held at the end of pit lane for an unusual standing start as they waited to rejoin behind the safety car.

Brazil's Jimenez took the lead and pulled away as Switzerland, GBR and France went side-by-side in a battle for second place, Jani taking position followed by Duval and Jarvis in third and fourth place.

By lap 16 the order had settled behind the top four to Germany, Netherlands, India and China, followed by Mexico and Ireland in ninth and tenth. Race leader Jimenez did an incredible job to hold off the Swiss driver who was all over the back of the Brazilian car while Germany's Ammermüller received a drive through penalty for hitting GBR when he tried an ambitious move on Jarvis at turn two on lap 19.

The second pit stop window opened on lap 22 and Brazil decided to stay out while Switzerland pitted from second on lap 23. Jimenez pitted one lap later and rejoined the action behind Jani, as the Swiss driver regained the lead and started to pull away once again. GBR continued to endure a difficult race as the team struggled with a sticking wheel nut in their second stop on lap 24 and then received a drive through penalty three laps later for speeding in the pit lane.

With seven laps remaining, Ammermüller launched the German car ambitiously into turn two for the third time this weekend, taking out the Czech Republic's Erik Janis on his way.

Meanwhile at the front of the pack, Jani continued to pull away from Jimenez and went on to cross the line in first position, giving the Swiss team a perfect end to the weekend with its first double victory and Feature race win. Jimenez, who has been improving all weekend, brought the Brazilian car home in second place, scoring the nation's first podium finish since round four of season one. Third place went to Duval in the French car, promoting the team to second in the championship while the Netherlands' Jeroen Bleekemolen crossed the line a well-earned fourth.

A1 Team China's CongFu Cheng put in a strong performance to finish fifth, having started from eighth on the grid while India's Narain Karthikeyan crossed the line sixth. Ireland's Adam Carroll finished seventh while the final three point-scoring positions were taken by New Zealand, Australia and Great Britain, as Jarvis snatched tenth from USA in the closing seconds of the race.

Jani was clearly delighted to take Switzerland's first Feature race win and can't wait to get back on track at the next round in China:

'I mean how many times have I lead a Feature race when something happened in the last lap, the pit stop messed up everything, it was just a horrible dream so far of a Feature race for us. And now finally we got that win and the first time in the championship lead for the A1GP for Switzerland, so it's really great and I'm really looking forward to Zhuhai.'

Jimenez, who crossed the line second and gave Brazil its first podium since season one, said:

'I'm really happy but it was a very tough race for me. I had a very good start - we jumped to third and I could keep Switzerland and France in my sights. After the first pit stop we had red lights but it was lucky for me because I could stop side by side with Neel and go to the front, and after that I was with new tyres so I was able to put some distance between us and we were on a different strategy. It was good, but it could be better though!'

Duval, who has impressed all weekend, brought the French car home in third place, moving his nation into second in the championship:

'It was a very difficult race for me, quite tough. I had a good fight with Oliver, good overtaking before the fast corners and then I overtook Jimenez before the main straight. So I was quite OK during the first stint. I had the same problem as Neel during the first pit stop on the safety car when we arrived at the end of the pit at the red light. So like him, I don't know if it's allowed to overtake under the safety car in the pit. So I was fourth again and I had to overtake Oliver again, and then I couldn't follow the guys because I had massive understeer during the second stint. We put the new tyres on for the last stint which was good, the car was much better like this so I could catch the Brazil car but not enough to finish second. It's quite a good weekend.'

Switzerland now leads the title challenge on 61 points, ahead of France on 51, as the series heads to Zhuhai, China for the first time on 14-16 December 2007.

Home nation Malaysia scored its first point by default this morning after A1 Team Netherlands was given a 42-second penalty for jump starting the Sprint race. The penalty dropped them from eighth to 20th in the Sprint race classification, stripping the team of the three points it scored. The penalty also meant that Ireland and Italy received an extra point.

All results remain provisional while the stewards of the circuit continue to carry out investigations. Keep checking www.A1GP.com for further updates and the final results.

Feature race results

Pos

Driver

A1 Team

 Laps

Time

Gap First

1

Neel JANI

SWITZERLAND

35

1:08:13.459

-

2

Sergio JIMENEZ

BRAZIL

35

1:08:21.873

8.414

3

Loic DUVAL

FRANCE

35

1:08:22.387

8.928

4

Jeroen BLEEKEMOLEN

NETHERLANDS

35

1:08:24.681

11.222

5

Congfu CHENG

CHINA

35

1:08:30.813

17.354

6

Narain KARTHIKEYAN

INDIA

35

1:08:31.053

17.594

7

Adam CARROLL

IRELAND

35

1:08:32.831

19.372

8

Jonny REID

NEW ZEALAND

35

1:08:33.856

20.397

9

Ian DYK

AUSTRALIA

35

1:08:57.753

44.294

10

Oliver JARVIS

GREAT BRITAIN

35

1:08:57.818

44.359

11

Jonathan SUMMERTON

USA

35

1:08:58.008

44.549

12

Michel JOURDAIN

MEXICO

35

1:08:58.174

44.715

13

Michael AMMERMÜLLER

GERMANY

35

1:08:59.868

46.409

14

Alex YOONG

MALAYSIA

35

1:09:02.254

48.795

15

Adam KHAN

PAKISTAN

35

1:09:10.336

56.877

16

Erik JANIS

CZECH REPUBLIC

35

1:09:11.778

58.319

17

Satrio HERMANTO

INDONESIA

35

1:09:34.365

+1:20.906

18

Chris ALAJAJIAN

LEBANON

26

0:53:00.577

9 Laps

19

Enrico TOCCACELO

ITALY

17

0:34:54.917

18 Laps

20

Adrian ZAUGG

SOUTH AFRICA

7

0:13:18.875

28 Laps

21

Robert WICKENS

CANADA

7

0:13:29.020

28 Laps

22

Joao URBANO

PORTUGAL

0

 

35 Laps

Fastest lap: A1 Team Switzerland set the fastest lap in the Feature race, lapping Sepang circuit in 1m49.260s with a speed of 182.6 kph on lap 25 of the 35 lap race.

Next race: A1GP Zhuhai, China, 14-16 December 2007

A1GP Switzerland Takes Supreme Sprint Race Victory

Malaysia - Pole sitter A1 Team Switerzland's Neel Jani took his second consecutive Sepang Sprint race victory this morning at the third round of the 2007/08 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport season in Malaysia. He dominated from start to finish to cross the line almost four seconds ahead of second-placed A1 Team France driver Loic Duval. The pair were joined on the podium by Germany's Michael Ammermüller, who put in a superb performance to secure a top-three finish in his maiden A1GP race.

As the ten-lap Sprint race got underway in hot and humid weather conditions (air 29 degrees C, humidity 78 per cent), Jani stormed off the grid to take the lead as Great Britain's Oliver Jarvis made contact with France into turn one. The British car sustained damage to the front wing and fell back to sixth place, letting Canada, Germany and Brazil through into third, fourth and fifth position respectively.

By the end of lap two, Switzerland had romped into the distance and pulled out a two-second lead from France. The excitement continued just behind the leading pair as German new boy Ammermüller piled the pressure onto third-placed Canadian driver, Robert Wickens, also making his A1GP race debut.

On lap four New Zealand's Jonny Reid stole sixth position from the damaged GBR car coming out of turn 14 onto the main straight and two laps later the Netherlands' Jeroen Bleekemolen snatched eighth place from Ireland's Adam Carroll, as Jani extended his lead over France to a commanding 3.5 seconds.

The Swiss ace went on to take victory by almost four seconds from second-placed France while Germany's Ammermüller, who had made several attempts to pass Wickens in the closing stages of the race, finally made it stick with an ambitious move past the Canadian. They touched during the manoeuvre on the last lap, to take third place, demoting Canada to fourth.

Brazil's Sergio Jimenez enjoyed a strong race to cross the line fifth and record his best finish in an A1GP race while New Zealand, GBR and the Netherlands finished in sixth, seventh and eighth position respectively.

Irish rookie Adam Carroll, who qualified 13th, made the most of a great start to bring the emerald green car home in ninth place while Malaysia's Alex Yoong thrilled his home crowd by carving his way through the pack from 19th on the grid, enjoying a thrilling battle with India's Narain Karthikeyan in the opening laps to eventually cross the line in 11th position.

On form Jani was delighted with his team's win and is hoping for a repeat performance in this afternoon's Feature race:

'The car was perfect so I have to thank the team and I hope we get another car like that for the second race. I braked a little bit too late going into the first corner and went wide, I was very lucky that I didn't touch with Loic there, but after it was ok - I had a gap and I thought ok, this I can manage now. Sepang is a great track, it's got quick and slow corners and I like the flow, it's a little bit like Spa. I like these flowing tracks, it's definitely one of my favourites.'

Duval, who finished second in the French car, commented:

'I took a good start and we were side-by-side, Neel braked really late and I tried to come in to overtake him but unfortunately I think it was actually Canada who crashed into me and I lost the rear. It was quite scary for the first corner and then after it was ok. I was not so far off the pace compared to Neel so we can be confident for the second race this afternoon.'

On his last lap tussle with Canada, German rookie Ammermüller said:

'I think it was quite fair, it was racing. It's the last lap and everybody wants to be in a position if he is behind and not first. We tried to push a lot and I tried to overtake him on the main straight, but it's quite difficult because you have very good gip on the inside for braking and I tried on the outside but it didn't work. Then on the next corner I was on the inside and I just went as much to the inside as I could and I overtook him. I had a little bit of contact with him but I think it was just normal race overtaking I would say.'

Switzerland now lead the championship by three points from New Zealand with France just a point behind in third. All 22 nations are now preparing for the Sepang Feature race, which starts at 15:00 this afternoon.

Sprint race results

POS

DRIVER

A1 TEAM

LAPS

TIME

GAP FIRST

1

Neel JANI

SWITZERLAND

10

18:20.910

-

2

Loic DUVAL

FRANCE

10

18:24.702

+3.792

3

Michael AMMERMÜLLER

GERMANY

10

18:32.845

+11.935

4

Robert WICKENS

CANADA

10

18:34.037

+13.127

5

Sergio JIMENEZ

BRAZIL

10

18:34.647

+13.737

6

Jonny REID

NEW ZEALAND

10

18:35.386

+14.476

7

Oliver JARVIS

GREAT BRITAIN

10

18:35.847

+14.937

8

Jeroen BLEEKEMOLEN

NETHERLANDS

10

18:36.237

+15.327

9

Adam CARROLL

IRELAND

10

18:40.589

+19.679

10

Enrico TOCCACELO

ITALY

10

18:44.131

+23.221

11

Alex YOONG

MALAYSIA

10

18:44.497

+23.587

12

Adrian ZAUGG

SOUTH AFRICA

10

18:46.015

+25.105

13

Narain KARTHIKEYAN

INDIA

10

18:46.114

  +25.204

14

Jonathan SUMMERTON

USA

10

18:47.437

+26.527

15

Joao URBANO

PORTUGAL

10

18:48.682

+27.772

16

Chris ALAJAJIAN

LEBANON

10

18:55.031

+34.121

17

Erik JANIS

CZECH REPUBLIC

10

18:57.238

+36.328

18

Adam KHAN

PAKISTAN

10

18:58.456

+37.546

19

Satrio HERMANTO

INDONESIA

10

19:05.730

+44.820

20

Michel JOURDAIN

MEXICO

10

19:08.326

+47.416

21

Congfu CHENG

CHINA

1

02:08.009

9 Laps

22

Ian DYK

AUSTRALIA

0

 

10 Laps

Fastest lap: A1 Team Switzerland's Neel Jani set the fastest lap (1m49.221s) of the Sprint race on lap 10.