A1 Team Malaysia’s Alex Yoong converted his first pole position into the team’s first race win after a dominant performance in the Sprint race at the A1 Grand Prix of Nations, Shanghai Circuit, China, taking his spot at the head of the grid for the following Feature race.

Series leaders, France put pressure on from the start, trying everything possible to pass Great Britain and Malaysia ahead of them. From the approach to turn one, Premat slipped the tricolour car between Malaysia and Britain trying to edge ahead through turns one and two but the grid leaders held their positions and France fell back to its third place starting position out of turn three. It was the start of an unusually bad race for the French who may have laid claim to the Series title but were still under attack from the rest of the field throughout the race.

As the field crossed the start/finish line into the second lap, Malaysia was building its lead on Great Britain, with Mexico shortly behind having overtaken France at the end of the first lap. Italy brought up the rear after an earlier spin and continued to battle with China whose second driver, Ma Qinghua defended well in front of his home crowd. A collision between Switzerland and Canada saw retirements from both, while A1 Team Austria at seventeenth across the line, completed the 100,000th race mile for the A1 engine, demonstrating its reliability having nearly completed the first season without a single engine failure.

While an incident between Lebanon and Austria saw both teams retire from the rear of the field, the major battles continued at the front. A1 Team Ireland’s number two, Michael Devaney, racing for only the second time this season, used his last PowerBoost on the approach to turn one stealing fourth place from France on lap five.

Just one lap later and France was once again the victim of an overtaking move, this time by the Netherlands’ Jos Verstappen, who also cleared a path for Indonesia to follow through. Determined to maintain his position, France’s Alexandre Premat defended hard but the Czech Republic with Tomas Enge behind the wheel fought its way past a few laps later.

While France and the Czech Republic contested sixth place, Indonesia kept the pressure on the Netherlands ahead of them for fifth. Verstappen’s vast race experience did not make the defence of his position an easy task and the dogged determination of Ananda Mikola eventually paid off. As technical problems brought an early end to the Dutch race, Indonesia was the first to head past before the orange car of Verstappen slowed on the track eventually pulling into the pits at the end of lap 11.

As the grid headed into lap 12, the battle focused on second and third place Great Britain and Mexico as Salvador Duran intensified the pressure on newcomer Darren Manning. Manning held his nerve to the flag, holding off double winner at the previous race in Laguna Seca to take second place with Salvador Duran less than a second behind.

Winning his first race in A1 Grand Prix, Malaysia’s Alex Yoong said: ‘The car was good, we knew the temperature was rising, and were worried about the condition of the tyres. Fortunately after the start I was able to conserve the tyres and still able to push at the end.

Commenting on the trend of drivers winning the Sprint and Feature races, Alex said ‘I really like that trend! Hopefully I will be able to repeat it. But it will be very competitive in the main race. The pit stops will be crucial and it will be really important to look after the car.’

Finishing second in his first race in A1 Grand Prix, Darren Manning was pleased to secure A1 Team Great Britain’s third place in the standings. ‘This was obviously the main goal for the team, and it has been a great weekend. I think I have acclimatised myself now. I didn’t have the pace of Alex in the race, but I managed to fend off France and the charging Salvador. I’m not really used to this two race thing! The second race will be more like I’m used to, a long race with strategy and pit stops, so I think past experience will help me.’

Salvador Duran battled hard to pass Darren Manning, right up to the last lap. ‘It was really difficult to pass, we were managing to do similar times, but we had different set ups on the cars, so we were faster on different parts of the track. I did try really hard one time to get past, but when that didn’t work, I knew I was done, as I had no more PowerBoosts left. Hopefully the next race will be different.’
  A1 Team Driver Time
1 Malaysia Alex Yoong 28.17.807
2 Great Britain Darren Manning 28.27.648
3 Mexico Salvador Duran 28.28.224
4 Ireland Michael Devaney 28.31.712
5 Indonesia Ananda Mikola 28.36.978
6 Czech Republic Tomas Enge 28.38.622
7 France Alexandre Premat 28.43.148
8 New Zealand Matt Halliday 28.43.546
9 Australia Ryan Briscoe 28.44.477
10 Brazil Christian Fittipaldi 28.52.550
11 South Africa Stephen Simpson 28.51.661
12 Pakistan Adam Khan 28.52.011
13 Portugal Cesar Campanico 28.54.155
14 USA Phil Giebler 28.55.382
15 Germany Sebastian Stahl 28.59.296
16 Italy Enrico Toccacelo 29.02.699
17 China Ma Qinghua 29.18.770
18 Lebanon Graham Rahal 14 laps
19 Netherlands Jos Verstappen 12 laps
20 Austria Mathias Lauda 5 laps
21 Canada Patrick Carpentier 1 lap
22 Switzerland Giorgio Mondini 1 lap


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 Team Indonesia car, 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!’

  A1 Team Driver Time Gap first
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 +48.375
10 USA Phil Giebler +51.331
11 Lebanon Graham Rahal +1.01.653
12 Portugal Cesar Campanico +1.06.925
13 Austria Mathias Lauda +1.07.420
14 South Africa Stephen Simpson +1.07.840
15 Great Britain Darren Manning +1.09.922
16 China Tengyi Jiang +1.17.354
17 Netherlands Jos Verstappen +1.44.475
18 Germany Sebastian Stahl +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.

Reporting by A1GP.com
Alex Yoong (Team Malaya) takes the lead at the start that he would hold for the whole of the Sprint Race.
(Picture A1GP.com)
Darren Manning (Team Great Britain) and Alex Yoong (Team Malaya) lead away at the start of the Feature Race.
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The cars of the grid at the start of the Feature Race.
(Picture A1GP.com)
The cars line up in the pit road.
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An elated Thomas Enge climbs out of his car in parc ferme after his convincing Feature Race victory.
(Picture A1GP.com)
Sprint Race winner Alex Yoong waves the Malaysian flag on the podium.
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The cars enter the first corner at the start of the Sprint Race.
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The Sprint Race podium, Darren Manning (Team Great Britain), Alex Yoong (Team Malaysia) and Salvador Duran (Team Mexico).
(Picture A1GP.com)
Thomas Enge shares his champagne with his team below the podium.
(Picture A1GP.com)
The Feature Race podium, Alex Yoong (Team Malaysia), Thomas Enge (Team Czech Republic) and Ryan Briscoe (Team Australia).
(Picture A1GP.com)
Alexandre Premat and Nicholas Lapierre celebrate with the trophy for the World Cup of Motorsport presented to Team France.
(Picture A1GP.com)
Team Switzerland were also celebrating, in their case finishing second in the championship.
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Darren Manning leads Thomas Enge in the pit road.
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Thomas Enge was uncatchable in the Feature race
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Virtually the entire field pitted during the pace car incident in the Feature Race.
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Ryan Briscoe drove an excellent Feature Race in the Team Australia car.
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The impressive facilities at the Shanghai Circuit.
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Delighted Team Malaysia personnel greet their man at the end of the Sprint Race.
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The opening ceremony for China's round of the A1GP series.
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Michael Devaney (Team Ireland) drove very well in the Sprint Race but was lucky to escape injury following a huge accident in the Feature Race.
(Picture A1GP.com)
Cesar Campanico had an outing in the Team Portugal car.
(Picture A1GP.com)
Countdown to the start.
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