A1 Team Germany has taken its fifth win of the 2006/07 season winning the A1GP Sydney, Australia Sprint race ahead of New Zealand and France, so when the team lines up on pole for the Feature race it will be its fourth consecutive A1GP start from this coveted position.

A1 Team Germany made a clean start to the race, pulling ahead of second placed New Zealand who was immediately put under pressure by Great Britain. After the two cars touched wheels at turn three, New Zealand was forced to concede and the red, white and blue car of Great Britain overtook Black Beauty into turn four.

New Zealand’s Jonny Reid said: ‘On the first start I had to lift through turn one because Nico was in front and I had pretty much no downforce thanks to going through the disturbed air. I went to defend but Robbie got me on the outside. I gave him racing room but then we touched going through turn three, and I almost held him out as I had the inside line for four and five. It was a bit of luck I was able to come back on the re-start and on the lights I got second. For the next race as usual we are representing our countries so we will both do our best. The championship is at stake so we need to focus on this but we will race hard and fair.’

As the field entered the second lap there was little change from their original starting positions with Netherlands, Malaysia, Czech Republic, Mexico, Singapore, and Australia gaining a couple of positions as the field jostled for position.

A spin from A1 Team Lebanon at turn eight saw the safety car deployed towards the end of lap five, bunching up the field for an exciting finale to the 20 minute race. As the safety car peeled off at the end of lap eight and the pack crossed the start/finish line, New Zealand made its move on Great Britain regaining second place into turn one.

But that was not to be the end of Great Britain’s troubles as France made its move, overtaking Britain on the inside as it became increasingly obvious that driver Robbie Kerr was suffering from problems with the car. Mid-way through lap 13, Kerr slammed on the brakes and let the field pass, pulling into the pits with a punctured right front tyre, putting them towards the back of the grid for this afternoon’s Feature race.

Winning driver Nico Hulkenberg commented: ‘I had a good rolling start and a good re-start after the Safety Car, but then it was not that easy as I just tried to focus on myself and push as hard as I could. First of all Jonny and then GBR were pushing from behind. There are some things which are not perfect, but it is hard to get the car perfect here because there is not a lot of rubber on the track, but we will try our best to improve the car.’

A1 Team France’s Loic Duval said: ‘I made a big mistake at the start of the race. The first corner is quite bumpy and I used three push to passes. The car was not perfect so we have to improve it a bit for this afternoon. We can now improve the car a little so I am sure it will be possible to fight for first place.’

Sprint race results

  A1 Team Driver Time Gap first
1 Germany Nico Hulkenberg 20.13.223 -
2 New Zealand Jonny Reid 20.15.377 +2.154
3 France Loic Duval 20.21.054 +7.831
4 Switzerland Sebastien Buemi 20.24.108 +10.885
5 Netherlands Jeroen Bleekemolen 20.25.360 +12.137
6 China Ho-Pin Tung 20.26.315 +13.092
7 Malaysia Alex Yoong 20.26.771 +13.548
8 USA Phil Giebler 20.27.477 +14.254
9 Czech Republic Tomas Enge 20.28.152 +14.929
10 Ireland Richard Lyons 20.29.097 +15.874
11 Mexico Salvador Duran 20.29.559 +16.336
12 Singapore Christian Murchison 20.29.987 +16.764
13 Canada James Hinchcliffe 20.30.834 +17.611
14 Australia Karl Reindler 20.30.919 +17.696
15 Italy Enrico Toccacelo 20.32.647 +19.424
16 South Africa Alan van der Merwe 20.33.037 +19.814
17 Indonesia Ananda Mikola 20.33.774 +20.551
18 India Parthiva Sureshwaren 20.42.451 +29.228
19 Great Britain Robbie Kerr 13 laps 1 lap
20 Pakistan Nur Ali 12 laps 2 laps
21 Brazil Tuka Rocha 11 laps 3 laps
22 Lebanon Alex Khateeb 5 laps 9 laps

Fastest lap: A1 Team Germany, 1.19.142 (178.8kph) – outright track record for the Eastern Creek circuit.


A1 Team China has scored its first ever podium finish at an A1GP event, finishing the Sydney Feature race in third place behind Germany and New Zealand. After taking the lead on lap ten as the rest of the field pitted, a quick stop for China saw the car leave the pit lane in sixth place, while the team’s strategy of waiting until later in the race for their mandatory tyre change meant that driver, Ho-Pin Tung, was able to move up the field as he benefited from the grip provided by his fresher tyres.

It was a sensational overtaking manoeuvre on the bright orange car of A1 Team Netherlands on lap 22 that finally secured China’s podium finish, taking them on the outside of turn one in front of the packed out grandstands. Driver Ho-Pin Tung commented: ‘I have just seen Steven our press manager cheering on the phone and screaming, so I think probably it will be a really big thing in China. I think on the TV maybe it looked a bit braver when I overtook the Netherlands than it was in reality. I just had a very good tow down the main straight and I overtook him on the outside. I used my PowerBoost to get a really good tow, moved to the outside and could carry more speed into the corner where he had to lift as he had to defend his position.’

The advantage from Germany’s pole position, awarded after their earlier Sprint race win, was not to last as New Zealand over took them at the start. The pack made it cleanly through turn one, but as they jostled for position a collision between Canada and Singapore saw both cars leave the track The Canadian car rolled in the air and landed upside down in the dirt at turn four, but James Hinchcliffe was able to walk away unhurt.

The safety car was deployed while the cars were removed and the field took their positions behind it. As the safety car prepared to come in at the end of lap five, South Africa ran over the back of Pakistan, spinning into the dirt at turn eight taking both cars out of the race and causing the safety car to continue its run.

At the end of lap seven, the safety car headed into the pit lane and the race re-started with New Zealand leading Germany, Netherlands, Czech Republic and France. The pit stop window opened on lap eight and A1 Team Germany were first in followed by the Netherlands with New Zealand pitting one lap later.

With most of the field having pitted, China were left at the front of the pack, leading the field for the first time in an A1GP race. After eight laps in front, China pitted at the end of lap 17, leaving Germany in first place ahead of New Zealand and the Netherlands. The red dragon car of A1 Team China re-joined the pack in sixth place behind Czech Republic.

A bad start for A1 Team USA saw them drop from eight to 11th off the grid but as the pit stops began the team made their way up the field eventually taking their pit stop as they lay in third place at the end of lap 11. Leaving the pits in 12th place ‘We the People’ made its charge on the pack overtaking France over the next couple of laps and starting a battle with Switzerland that was to remain fiercely competitive until the chequered flag.

Great Britain, having started the Feature race from 19th, began their move up the field as soon as the race began, moving into 15th place by the time the pit stop window opened on lap eight. The team took their stop on lap 12, rejoining the field in 12th place behind France who they then enjoyed a battle with for positions. .

The recent misfortune of the Irish team was to continue this weekend when a collision with Switzerland pushed the car off the track and into the pit lane at the end of lap 17. While the pit crew did its best to repair the damaged top rear wishbone, putting it out again with the leaders on lap 35, the damage sustained was too great and the car withdrew from the race three laps later.

Home team Australia failed to deliver on the promise offered during Saturday’s official practice session, finishing 14th although some strong overtaking manoeuvres by driver Karl Reindler provided enough for the crowds to cheer about, particularly as he overtook the well-supported Lebanese car in front of the grandstand on lap 26.

Race winner, Nico Hulkenberg of A1 Team Germany commented: ‘It was a difficult race, maybe it didn’t look like it but when I was ahead of Jonny after the pit stops he was always just behind me so I could not make any, mistakes. But what can I say, two perfect weekends in a row, it is just I like the chair in the middle here at the press conference too much.’

He continued: ‘Physically it was pretty tough, especially in the first corner as the car is so heavy at the start of the race with a lot of fuel. With a lot of downforce the steering is so heavy and all round the circuit it is difficult because it is very bumpy and that makes it even more difficult. At the start I just saw he was going to the inside and I said, okay I will try to the outside. I was in front of him but he was still on the inside and that was it.’

New Zealand’s Jonny Reid went on to say: ‘I just controlled it at the start as it is easy to control the race when you are in front. It was a little bit disappointing with the pit stop issue, but that is the way motorsport goes sometimes. I pushed and pushed but we had nothing left as the car was not so good in the race. There is another small change that we could work on to fix that for next time, but once you are out there you are battling with the race car and that is what you have got. It was difficult out there today. You can see what happened in the pit stop probably better than I can, because I don’t know what time Nico’s pit stop was but somewhere along the line we lost some time. I passed the pit 60k mboard marker so I am sure it was not there and then governed all the way down the pit lane so it has to have happened somewhere maybe we just came in a lap too late, I am not sure yet.’

Feature race results

The bonus point for the fastest race lap went to A1 Team Germany who recorded a time of 1.19.142 on lap 2 of the Sprint race, with a speed of 178.8kph.

2006/07 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport standings:

Reporting by A1GP.com
Nico Hulkenberg (Team Germany) acknowledges the crowd.
(Picture A1GP.com)
Jonny Reid (Team New Zealand) finished second.
(Picture A1GP.com)
Loric Duval was a distant third for Team France.
(Picture A1GP.com)
Jeroen Bleekemolen (Team Netherlands) held on for fifth.
(Picture A1GP.com)
Phil Giebler had a good run to eighth.
(Picture A1GP.com)
Team Germany took the lead from the start.
(Picture A1GP.com)
Team France, Team Switzerland and Team China fight for third.
(Picture A1GP.com)
There were battles all through the field.
(Picture A1GP.com)
Jonny Reid (Team New Zealand), Nico Hulkenberg (Team Germany) and Loric Duval (Team France) share the podium.
(Picture A1GP.com)
Two from two for Nico Hulkenberg (Team Germany).
(Picture A1GP.com)
Jonny Reid was a distant second for Team New Zealand.
(Picture A1GP.com)
Ho-Pin Tung took a stunning third for Team China.
(Picture A1GP.com)
Fourth for Jeroen Bleekemolen and Team Netherlands.
(Picture A1GP.com)
Fifth for Tomas Enge and Team Czech Republic .
(Picture A1GP.com)
Alex Yoong (Team Malaya) were a competitive sixth.
(Picture A1GP.com)
Jonny Reid (Team New Zealand) dives inside Nico Hulkenberg (Team Germany) to take the lead at the start.
(Picture A1GP.com)
Eighth again for Phil Giebler and Team USA.
(Picture A1GP.com)
Scenic views at Eastern Creek.
(Picture A1GP.com)
Richard Lyons (Team Ireland) leaves the track after contact with Sebastien Buemi (Team Switzerland).
(Picture A1GP.com)
Team Brazil and Team Italy fight for position.
(Picture A1GP.com)
James Hinchcliffe (Team Canada) was very lucky to walk away from this spectacular roll.
(Picture A1GP.com)
Karl Reindler (Team Australia).
(Picture A1GP.com)
Team China celebrate after the race...
(Picture A1GP.com)
...and Ho-Pin Tung celebrates on the podium.
(Picture A1GP.com)
Jonny Reid (Team New Zealand), Nico Hulkenberg (Team Germany) and Ho-Pin Tung (Team China) on the podium.
(Picture A1GP.com)
Eastern Creek from the air.
(Picture A1GP.com)