A1 GP SHANGHAI CHINA- RACE RESULTS - Thomas ENGE Team Czech Republic Winner

A1 GP SHANGHAI CHINA- RACE RESULTS - Thomas ENGE Team Czech Republic Winner

02.04.2006: A1 GP SHANGHAI CHINA- RACE RESULTS - Thomas ENGE Team Czech Republic Winner



The Czech Republic became the eighth nation to win an A1 Grand Prix event, crossing the line first at the end of the Shanghai Feature race. Snatching first place from Sprint race winner, Malaysia’s Alex Yoong who still managed to retain second ahead of Australia’s Ryan Briscoe who had his first podium finish of the season, the third for the team.

All 22 cars made a clean start to this afternoon’s Feature race going straight into battle for vital points in the last race of the season. Having taken advantage of A1 Grand Prix’s unique driver rules, A1 Team France, this time with Nicolas Lapierre behind the wheel, made the best gain rising from seventh to fourth putting them back into contention for a final podium finish.



A bad start for A1 Team Ireland was made even worse before the first lap was over. After a strong and determined performance in the Sprint race the luck of the Irish ran out as they came wheel to wheel with Indonesia on turn seven. The green car flipped over the Indonesia, spinning several times before coming to a halt upside down in the gravel trap.

As the safety car came out, every team took the chance to make their compulsory pit stop and as the entire field filed in, the pressure turned to the race crewsas they worked to get their car out ahead of its rivals. An excellent stop for Malaysia saw the bright yellow car pull out as other cars continued to head and smooth stops for Switzerland and Canada saw them move up from the back of the grid to ninth and tenth respectively.

The safety car came in at the end of lap four and racing resumed with Malaysia leading the Czech Republic, Great Britain, Mexico, Australia, USA, New Zealand and Pakistan. But this order did not remain for long as the Czech Republic was quick to pounce on Malaysia making its move around the outside of turn one while Great Britain fell victim to Mexico and Australia.



On lap six Great Britain suffered again, being the first to take a drive through penalty also given to Mexico and the USA for a false start. The penalty cost Great Britain a points position but having grabbed nine points in the Sprint race, their third place in the Series was confirmed. When all three teams had taken their penalties, the leading pack looked considerably different with the Czech Republic ahead of Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Canada, Italy and Lebanon.

A1 Team France, slowed by a 1.54 minute pit stop which saw them drop to eighteenth at the end of the safety car session then began its climb up the field to an eventual sixth place finish, which they took on the penultimate lap by overtaking Canada at the end of the 1.1km straight. After taking Austria on lap six, Mexico, Switzerland, Portugal, Germany and China all fell victim over the next two laps.



For Lebanon a point in this race would have meant a lot and they fought to the finish to try and achieve this. On lap 17, it was Mexico that slipped by to take ninth but after then it was on lap 23 that the team finally saw their hopes dashed when A1 Team USA snatched tenth, the last points paying position.

Mexico made their final leap up the leader board into eighth by overtaking Italy on lap 25. For Italy, this was not the end of the affair but their driver’s hope of taking the place back again were dashed due to a spin of lap 26. Meanwhile, Portugal and Austria were disputing twelfth place. Even though they were both out of the points, this battle continued right to the chequered flag with newcomer to the Series Cesar Campanico finishing in front.

Race winner, A1 Team Czech Republic’s Tomas Enge commented: ‘It’s great to get this result today. We’ve had a lot of bad luck during the last half of the season. We’ve had lots of ups and downs in the last few races, in Laguna Seca we didn’t finish either race. I hoped everything would go well, and in the end the pit stop and the restarts were all really good. I must thank the team for all their work and a great car. I think it will take us about a week to realise what has happened today. I’m very proud that the Czech Republic won the last race in the first season of A1 Grand Prix.’



A1 Team Malaysia jumped from 10th in the Series standings to fifth after Alex Yoong’s performance in Shanghai
. ‘Before the weekend, we almost joked that we could get fourth in the series, if we won both races, and it nearly happened. The car was really good in the first race, in the second the balance wasn’t quite as good, and Tomas was doing a good job. But we are pleased with this second place.’

Ryan Briscoe for A1 Team Australia said: ‘It’s a fantastic result to come away with third, especially as this is only my second outing in A1 Grand Prix. It means a lot to be racing for your country. I must say a big thank you to all the boys in the team. I kept working hard, and tried to preserve the tyres as much as possible, but I didn’t have the speed to catch Alex. During the first race, we had a slight problem with the set up, but we made a few changes before the second race, and found the best set up again.’

Asked whether Formula One was better than A1 Grand Prix, Alex Yoong answered, ‘You cannot compare F1 and A1GP, they are completely different. Formula One is the pinnacle of motorsport in terms of technology. It is about manufacturer against manufacturer, about engine deals and about money. A1GP is run by countries, the cars are identical, it is an equal playing field. The aim is to see which is the best team and driver, it is about the people. I would definitely stay in A1GP, it would have to be a good deal for me to move to F1. A very good deal!’

 

1 Czech Republic Tomas Enge 59.23.250

2 Malaysia Alex Yoong 59.29.971 +6.721

3 Australia Ryan Briscoe 59.33.103 +9.853

4 New Zealand Matt Halliday 59.49.716 +26.466

5 Pakistan Adam Khan 59.51.433 +28.183

6 France Nicolas Lapierre 59.54.682 +31.432

7 Canada Patrick Carpentier 59.56.707 +33.457

8 Mexico Salvador Duran 59.57.665 +34.415

9 Italy Enrico Toccacelo 1.00.11.625 +48.375

10 USA Phil Giebler 1.00.14.581 +51.331

11 Lebanon Graham Rahal 1.00.24.903 +1.01.653

12 Portugal Cesar Campanico 1.00.30.175 +1.06.925

13 Austria Mathias Lauda 1.00.30.670 +1.07.420

14 South Africa Stephen Simpson 1.00.31.090 +1.07.840

15 Great Britain Darren Manning 1.00.33.172 +1.09.922

16 China Tengyi Jiang 1.00.40.604 +1.17.354

17 Netherlands Jos Verstappen 1.01.07.025 +1.44.475

18 Germany Sebastian Stahl 1.01.13.244 +1.49.994

19 Brazil Christian Fittipaldi 28 laps 2 laps

20 Switzerland Giorgio Mondini 7 laps 23 laps

21 Indonesia Ananda Mikola 1 lap 29 laps

22 Ireland Michael Devaney 1 lap 29 laps

The bonus point for the fastest race lap of the day went to A1 Team Malaysia who recorded a time of 1.52.508 on lap 14 of the Sprint race, with a speed of 174.4kph.

Final Series points

1 France 172 World Champions – Winners of the first World Cup of Motorsport

2 Switzerland 121

3 Great Britain 97

4 New Zealand 77

5 Malaysia 74

6 Brazil 71

7 Netherlands 69

8 Ireland 68

9 Portugal 66

10 Canada 59

11 Mexico 59

12 Czech Republic 66

13 Australia 51

14 Italy 46

15 Germany 38

16 USA 23

17 South Africa 20

18 Indonesia 16

19 Austria 14

20 Pakistan 10

21 Japan 8

22 China 6

23 Lebanon 0

24 India 0

25 Russia 0

The A1 Grand Prix of Nations, Shanghai International Circuit, China was the last race in A1 Grand Prix’s inaugural season. The first race of the second season will take place at Circuit Park Zandvoort, Netherlands on 29 September – 1 October 2006. Further details regarding other dates and venues will follow in due course.




- Nikki Rooke, Ann Bradshaw -
photos are copyright and Trademark A1 GP SERIES

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02.04.2006 / MaP

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