Podium Delight for A1 Team Brazil in South Africa

Podium Delight for A1 Team Brazil in South Africa

22.02.2009: A1 Team Brazilís Felipe Guimar„es led the squad to its first podium position in 23 races today when he took a fine second in the Feature race at A1GP Gauteng at the Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit in Johannesburg, South Africa. Brazilís last podium came in Nov

A1 Team Brazil’s Felipe Guimarães led the squad to its first podium position in 23 races today when he took a fine second in the Feature race at A1GP Gauteng at the Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit in Johannesburg, South Africa. Brazil’s last podium came in November 2007 when Sergio Jimenez took third in the Feature at the Malaysian round.

From his eighth place grid slot in the Feature Race, Felipe made a good start up to sixth. With New Zealand going off track on lap four, Brazil was up to fifth and Felipe then passed Malaysia for fourth. After making the team’s first compulsory pitstop on lap nine, Brazil emerged in third place and over the next quarter of the race began to put pressure on second-placed Monaco. When Monaco’s Clivio Piccione ran wide on lap 23, Felipe seized his chance to move into second, and increased the gap between the two after his second stop on lap 24. After 40 long laps in the searing heat, 17-year-old Felipe became the youngest ever podium finisher in A1GP.

Earlier in the day Felipe began the 14-lap Sprint race form the seventh row of the grid in 14th. He had lost a position after lap one down to 15th, and retained that position after the round of mandatory pitstops. There was an incident on lap nine when GBR’s Danny Watts came together with Felipe’s Brazil car when attempting to overtake, but luckily Felipe was not affected and crossed the line in 15th.

The A1GP World Cup of Motorsport will be visiting another brand new circuit for the next round of the championship when it visits Portugal’s Portimão Circuit in the Algarve. It will be A1GP’s return to Portugal after three years away – the last round in the country was in season one when the event took place at Estoril.

Felipe Guimarães:

Sprint Race: “The car was good, we had some problems with the set-up but it will be better for the Feature race as we are making some changes. For the Sprint race I just wanted to be safe so the car was good ready for the Feature as we are starting eighth. I just wanted to save the tyres and bring the car home."

Feature Race:
“I'm really happy with the result. Yesterday I had the big crash in qualifying and I didn’t think that today I would finish on the podium! But I had a great start then during the race the car was good. It was a bit worrying at the end because the engine was losing power and it was just going but we managed to keep going to the finish thankfully. I was pushing hard but not taking any risks and we brought it home in second. I really wanted to do a good job today and I have.”

Emerson Fittipaldi, Team Principal
: “I’m so happy and excited and I think Felipe has a great future. The team made an incredible recovery from the qualifying crash and Felipe did a fantastic job and his mind was focused. He was running with the leader when he has the fuel pressure problem at the end but we still finished second. I’m really proud of Felipe and the whole team.”

Sprint Race
1. Netherlands (Jeroen Bleekemoelen)
2. Portugal (Filipe Albuquerque)
3. Switzerland (Neel Jani)
15. Brazil (Felipe Guimarães)

Feature Race

1. Switzerland (Neel Jani)
2. Brazil (Felipe Guimarães)
3. Monaco (Clivio Piccione)

- Rebecca Banks, A1 Team Brazil -  Photos A1GP
More photos on automobilsport.com under photos slideshows  and Photos -Ecards  A1GP

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22.02.2009 / MaP

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