A1 Team Malaysia’s Alex Yoong has made it a double pole weekend winning the Sprint race at the A1GP Mexico City, Mexico. A dominant drive saw Alex Yoong clearly demonstrate his racing experience making a clean start off the grid and retaining the top position which he held throughout the race. Yoong was joined on the podium by Great Britain and Australia whose driver Ian Dyk was making his debut in an A1GP race.

As the bright yellow car of Yoong pulled off the grid the action began right behind him. Host team Mexico and neighbouring Brazil collided, pushing the Brazilian car over the nose of the Mexican and into championship leaders Germany. While Germany and Brazil were forced into early retirement, Salvador Duran managed to get the Mexican car back to the pits. The team made some quick repairs in time to get the car back out on track where Duran recorded the fastest lap of the race in a time of 1.27.534.

By the start of the second lap, Malaysia was leading Great Britain, France, Portugal and South Africa who had cut an impressive path through the start line incident from 11th place on the grid. But the impact of the starting action was still to affect other teams as Portugal picked up a puncture from the debris, forcing them into the pits for a tyre change and costing them a good Feature race grid position. France was the next victim as the ‘tricolor’ car pulled off the track on lap three, which meant a disappointing result for the young rookie whose early promise had seen him qualify fifth in his first A1GP weekend.

With Portugal and France out of the running, Australia stepped into third with South Africa behind and the USA, with Jonathan Summerton back in the car after his Durban crash, catching up fast. New Zealand were making their way up the grid from 14th edging towards the points and a strong start to the Feature race. Unfortunately the team, who are now the only ones who can challenge Germany’s title hopes, also fell victim to the debris on track and slowed letting the rest of the field pass before pitting at the end of lap four with a front puncture.

The race settled and, keen not to risk their Feature race starting positions, the teams fell into line and the race continued without a hitch. However for A1 Team Australia, the end of the race was not to be the end of the action. Driver Ian Dyk, badly bruised his ankle as he hopped over the concrete wall leaving parc ferme. He has been seen by the medical team who have strapped up his ankle and is all set to get back in the car this afternoon.

Taking his third victory of the 2006/07 season, Malaysia’s Alex Yoong said: ‘I was not aware of what was happening behind me as I only saw the carnage on the next lap. There was a lot of debris and I was surprised they did not call the safety car. But I just got through okay. I am hoping to win the Feature race but I think one or two others want to do the same. The tyres went in a slightly different direction to that I thought they would during the race but we can sort this for the next one.’

Second placed Oliver Jarvis, who will be looking to repeat his Beijing Feature race podium finish, said: ‘Alex started on new tyres so he had a very good first couple of laps. The gap stayed fairly constant between us, I just settled myself in and was looking for a good result. I kept with him for a couple of laps. We will make a few changes but I don’t think it is that necessary as we will be on new tyres . Alex did a great job so well done for him as he made no mistakes. I was glad to be second and didn’t push too hard as it is the second race that counts.’

Australia’s Ian Dyk commented: ‘The start was certainly crazy. I had a reasonably easy run from the inside off nine and I got by a car that went off and was not even sure who it was, but there was blue smoke and brown dust everywhere. I managed to hold the inside line and South Africa came from somewhere so I followed him through and arrived in turn one safely so that was important. I got out of the car and crashed over the concrete barrier. I am able to drive fast but can’t walk very well now.’

After the start line incident there were several versions of what happened according to which driver was talking. Mexico’s Salvador Duran’s version of the events was: ‘I think Germany made a very bad start. When we went he was maybe still on the brakes. Then I saw Bruno on the inside and he had a lot more speed and I was not going to challenge him as I had a lot less speed. On my left I had Germany and I was in the middle of them. I think Germany had a lot of space on the outside and I was stuck in the middle of them. I don’t think Bruno came to the left I think Germany came back to the inside and then the contact happened. It is racing and this happens in racing it is a shame this happened to us in our home town. The next race I start from the back, I have a great car, awesome mechanics and am going to do everything to get back.’

He went on to comment on his fastest lap comeback: ‘I was pushing as hard as I could after the accident.  The car was really, really damaged and I could not turn to the right, I was taking off rubber and the tyre was really damaged.  I am very confident for the next race and will go out with a good car and do what I need to do.’

Sprint race results

Pos  Driver  A1 Team  Time  Gap first
1 Alex YOONG MALAYSIA 17:44.563 -
2 Oliver JARVIS GREAT BRITAIN 17:46.701 +2.138
3 Ian DYK AUSTRALIA 17:50.909 +6.346
4 Adrian ZAUGG SOUTH AFRICA 17:53.786 +9.223
5 Jonathan SUMMERTON USA 17:54.003 +9.440
6 Ho-Pin TUNG CHINA 17:56.596 +12.033
7 Enrico TOCCACELO ITALY 17:57.660 +13.097
8 Ananda MIKOLA INDONESIA 17:58.795 +14.232
9 Renger VAN DER ZANDE NETHERLANDS 17:59.318 +14.755
10 Marcel FASSLER SWITZERLAND 18:00.263 +15.700
11 Narain KARTHIKEYAN INDIA 18:01.454 +16.891
12 Jarek JANIS CZECH REPUBLIC 18:02.484 +17.921
13 James HINCHCLIFFE CANADA 18:11.865 +27.302
14 Alvaro PARENTE PORTUGAL 18:36.309 +51.746
15 Nur ALI PAKISTAN 18:40.658 +56.095
16 Jonny REID NEW ZEALAND 18:59.660 +1:15.097
17 Salvador DURAN MEXICO 19:04.774 +1:20.211
18 Allam KHODAIR LEBANON 18:41.167 1 Lap
19 Jean Karl VERNAY FRANCE 03:03.537 10 Laps
20 Bruno JUNQUEIRA BRAZIL + 12 Laps
21 Christian VIETORIS GERMANY + 12 Laps
22 Richard LYONS IRELAND + 12 Laps


In a nail-biting finish to the Feature race at the A1GP Mexico City, Mexico, A1 Team Great Britain took its maiden victory of the series with the USA finishing in their best ever position less than seven tenths of a second behind. South Africa took the final step on the podium claiming the spot with a sound pit stop strategy and defending well for the second half of the race.

As the lights went out and the cars left the grid, it was Great Britain’s Oliver Jarvis that came off best, storming ahead of the pack into turn one. The USA with Jonathan Summerton back behind the wheel after the crash that saw him retire early from the Durban race, tucked in behind. Pole-sitter Malaysia was slow off the start line, instantly dropping down to seventh as China, Italy, South Africa and the Netherlands all slipped ahead.

The bad luck France suffered this morning continued into the Feature race as an impact in the starting scrum damaged the car and forced the team to pit for a new nose cone and front wing at the end of the first lap. As the rest of the field fell into position, Italy overtook China for third, Malaysia began to recover from their starting, mistakes overtaking the Netherlands for sixth, and Portugal took Australia for ninth and then began a charge up the field.

Portugal, having only rejoined the series in Durban, fought strongly putting aggressive manoeuvres on the competition that even the most experienced of drivers failed to defend against. Starting the fourth lap, Parente overtook home nation Mexico for eighth before making an impressive move on the outside of the Netherlands one lap later for seventh.

Further down the field, Brazil’s Bruno Junqueira, starting from 20th on the grid after the Sprint race incident, made his first aggressive manoeuvre of the race, challenging India’s Narain Karthikeyan. Unfortunately for Brazil, the move did not pay off and, as Junqueira struggled to control the car, Germany and Ireland made their way through to 16th and 18th respectively.

As the pit window opened on lap eight, the teams prepared for their mandatory stop, with race leader Great Britain the first to pit. A smooth stop from the team saw the red, white and blue car re-join the race after 38.9 seconds, a strong stop that was to help maintain Jarvis’ position at the front of the race. Unfortunately the same could not be said for the Netherlands as the car stalled, dropping the team to the back of the pack.

For host nation Mexico, the weekend was to end in further disappointment after their Sprint race collision, with Durban heading into the pits for a second time on lap 14. Unfortunately for the home crowd, this was to be the end of Mexico’s race as a fuel pump problem forced the team into retirement. The team salvaged something from the weekend, scoring the bonus point for the fastest lap of the race in this morning’s Sprint race and getting the car repaired to return to the track for a lap of honour after the race.

The pit stops continued with the race lead changing from USA to Portugal to Canada before the last two pitted on lap 17 putting GBR back in front, ahead of the USA and Ireland, the only team on the track still to pit. With all the stops taken by the end of the 19th lap, the race began to settle with Great Britain leading the USA, South Africa, Italy, Malaysia, Portugal, New Zealand and Australia.

New Zealand’s Jonny Reid fought to climb up the points throughout the afternoon, aiming to close the gap on Germany and leave the championship title open for another race. His most impressive manoeuvre was as Malaysia, Portugal and the Black Beauty stormed up to lap Pakistan’s Nur Ali on lap 26, overtaking Portugal and putting pressure on Malaysia in one move.

The final excitement came towards the end of the race as leader Oliver Jarvis radioed back to his team reporting vibrations and a possible puncture. With a lead of less than four seconds on the USA’s Jonathan Summerton, the team prepared for an emergency pit which, with only seven laps to go, would have cost them the lead. Summerton continued to push the ‘We the people car’ to the max, closing the gap lap by lap. Luckily for the Brits, the vibrations came to nothing and the Jarvis drove the A1 Team Great Britain car across the finish line 0.690 seconds ahead of the USA.

South Africa, Italy, Malaysia, New Zealand and Portugal followed with Australia keeping within the points despite a poor start and an injured ankle sustained after the Sprint race. Championship leaders Germany, with rookie Christian Vietoris, in the car took two points from a ninth place finish, keeping them at the top of the overall score board but allowing second placed New Zealand to close the gap. A1 Team China, who will be pleased with another point ahead of their home race in Shanghai in a fortnight’s time, took the final point of the race in tenth.

Commenting on Great Britain’s first ever win in A1GP, Oliver Jarvis said: ‘I want to say a big thank you to the team they worked so hard and I am delighted to be up here. In the race itself I got a cracking start and managed to control the pace early on. We scheduled an early pit stop to get the benefit of the new tyres and then I pushed to create a gap. At the end of the race Jonathan was pushing hard, but I just maintained a comfortable gap and brought the car home.’

He went on to say: ‘I was disappointed in qualifying because our pace had been so good but I have a lot of thank yous to make. The boys worked hard and without them this would not have been possible, but unfortunately our Seat Holder, Tony Clements, could not be here and had to watch this from home. I think Robbie (Kerr) will be delighted for the team as he knows more than anyone else how hard they work. He would have loved to be on that winning step but he would be happy for us as that is the sort of attitude in the team, we work as one and hopefully will be able to continue bringing in the results.’

A1 Team USA’s Jonathan Summerton, who is only 18-years-old, recorded the team’s best ever finish and said: ‘From fifth on the grid we had a really good start and I was able to get up to second from there and just kept pushing.  At the beginning of the race I was on old tyres but I think we had a really great run. With about ten laps to go I felt I could perhaps catch Oliver and so started to push. In the end we came up a little short of him, but I am happy in the end as second is good.’

Talking of his Durban clash, he went on to say: ‘It is certainly a tough circuit. It was very hard and after the crash in Durban I went back to my doctor at home and got the okay to drive. I came back and told Rick (Weidinger) and came here and finished second.  Hopefully now we can win the next race as a win any time is good.’

Adrian Zaugg, driving for A1 Team South Africa commented: ‘The start was very difficult as I lost a place and I was very happy not to drop more I did some strong laps before the pit stop and was also able to push hard after it and get up to third. I think our pit stop strategy worked out very well. However, when I came out on my second lap on new tyres after the pit stop I was held up, which cost me some time. In the end I think we made some good progress through the whole weekend. I won’t be racing in Shanghai but I am sure the team will make good progress.  We have had a very difficult season since Zandvoort but I think catching up now and making good progress.  Alan van de Merwe was a great support to the team and me all weekend and I am sure he will do good job for the team in Shanghai.’

Feature race results

Pos  Driver A1 Team  Time  Gap First
1 Oliver JARVIS GREAT BRITAIN 1:07:37.362 -
2 Jonathan SUMMERTON USA 1:07:38.052 +0.690
3 Adrian ZAUGG SOUTH AFRICA 1:07:47.418 +10.056
4 Enrico TOCCACELO ITALY 1:07:51.449 +14.087
5 Alex YOONG MALAYSIA 1:07:56.633 +19.271
6 Jonny REID NEW ZEALAND 1:07:59.003 +21.641
7 Alvaro PARENTE PORTUGAL 1:08:00.771 +23.409
8 Ian DYK AUSTRALIA 1:08:11.430 +34.068
9 Christian VIETORIS GERMANY 1:08:12.673 +35.311
10 Ho-Pin TUNG CHINA 1:08:13.604 +36.242
11 Ananda MIKOLA INDONESIA 1:08:14.271 +36.909
12 Jarek JANIS CZECH REPUBLIC 1:08:14.773 +37.411
13 Bruno JUNQUEIRA BRAZIL 1:08:15.239 +37.877
14 Marcel FASSLER SWITZERLAND 1:08:19.600 +42.238
15 James HINCHCLIFFE CANADA 1:08:28.501 +51.139
16 Richard LYONS IRELAND 1:08:41.340 +1:03.978
17 Jeroen BLEEKEMOLEN NETHERLANDS 1:08:48.853 +1:11.491
18 Narain KARTHIKEYAN INDIA 1:07:41.184 1 Lap
19 Allam KHODAIR LEBANON 1:08:54.648 1 Lap
20 Jean Karl VERNAY FRANCE 1:08:59.088 1 Lap
21 Nur ALI PAKISTAN 1:07:54.210 2 Laps
22 Salvador DURAN MEXICO 0:21:53.692 31 Laps

2006/07 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport standings:

1 GERANY 101
8 ITALY 36
10 USA 35
11 CANADA 28
15 CHINA 21
18 INDIA 6

Fastest lap:
A1 Team Mexico set the fastest lap of the Sprint race with a speed of 182.9 kph on lap his third lap of the Sprint race.

Reporting by A1GP.com
Alex Yoong (Team Malaysia) took an unchallenged win in the Sprint Race.
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Oliver Jarvis (Team Great Britain) shows his delight with second.
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Third placed Ian Dyk gave Team Australia one of their most competitive runs in A1GP.
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Adrian Zaugg took fourth for Team South Africa, just holding off Team USA at the finish.
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It was a tight squeeze at the start.
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Jean Karl Vernay (Team France) had a disastrous start to his A1GP career.
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Ho-Pin Tung avoided trouble to bring the Team China car home sixth.
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Team Mexico before the start.
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There were battles all through the field.
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Ian Dyk, Alex Yoong and Oliver Jarvis on the victory rostrum.
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Oliver Jarvis (Team Great Britain) led from start to finish.
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Jonathan Summerton (Team USA) gave his all but had to settle for second.
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Adrian Zaugg was an excellent third for Team South Africa.
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Enrico Toccacelo had a lonely race to fourth for Team Italy.
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Alex Yoong (Team Malaysia) was hampered by a very slow start.
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Things improved for Jonny Reid (Team New Zealand) in the Feature race with sixth.
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Alvaro Parente took seventh for Team Portugal.
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Ian Dyk (Team Australia) could not repeat his Sprint Race result.
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Christian Vietoris and the Team Germany car.
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Team China took another points finish.
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Oliver Jarvis leads the rest of the field into the first corner.
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Not a weekend to remember for Team Canada and James Hinchcliffe...
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...or for Marcel Fassler and Team Switzerland.
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Despite mechanical woes Salvador Duran put on a show for the Mexican fans.
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Narain Karthikeyan (Team India) leads Bruno Junqueira (Team Brazil).
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Jonathan Summerton congratulates Oliver Jarvis at the finish.
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Jonathan Summerton, Oliver Jarvis and Adrian Zaugg all look suitably pleased with their results.
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Mexican beauty.
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