Great Britain has made A1GP history today dominating the Brands Hatch Sprint race from start to finish so becoming the first team to win a home race in the series. Driver Robbie Kerr led from pole, setting a new circuit record on his final lap, and closing the gap in its battle with New Zealand for second place in the championship.

Great Britain’s Robbie Kerr stormed off the grid slipping the red, white and blue car ahead of Germany’s Nico Hülkenberg and pulling away throughout to build a lead that was never threatened. Behind them, all 23 teams made a clean start with the Netherlands, South Africa, Ireland and Mexico all gaining two places on their original starting positions.

The action began later into the first lap with a collision between Ireland and New Zealand. Irish luck was with the team as the car continued undamaged while Black Beauty lost its front wing, forcing a pit stop at the end of the lap, and pushing the team, currently defending second place in the championship from the Brits, to the back of the field. While driver, Matt Halliday fought to re-gain places, it was the retirement of others that eventually got the team to 16th on the Feature Race grid.

A trip into the gravel at Stirling’s lost Mexico the two places it had gained off the grid, but new driver Juan Pablo Garcia, making his A1GP debut this weekend recovered the situation re-joining the track ahead of New Zealand. Stirling’s corner was to gain a second victim of the day just one lap later as France went wide and also left the track temporarily. The slight mistake was enough for Italy’s Enrico Toccacelo to take advantage, immediately seizing the opportunity to slip through for a third place finish.

As the race continued the field settled with most cars holding position. However, Switzerland began its challenge on South Africa for eighth towards the end of lap eight, with the cars crossing the start finish line side by side heading into Paddock Hill bend. Coming out of the bend South Africa and Switzerland locked wheels and headed off into the gravel, bringing an end to Switzerland’s race while South Africa headed back on to the track to finish five places down in 13th.

For China, Pakistan and Lebanon the day has not started well with all three teams failing to finish the race. Gearbox problems forced China to pull into the pits and retire at the end of lap three while unforced errors from Pakistan and Lebanon saw them spin into the gravel at Druids and Sheen’s respectively, failing to re-join the race.
Race winner, A1 Team Great Britain’s Robbie Kerr said: ‘It was a fantastic race and I had the race pace all the way through it. The car was handling well all the time. The handling changed a little bit during the race but you just change your style a little bit to cope with it and it was fantastic. I got a good start. I didn’t really have to do anything, just drive a few corners and then keep my head down, a nice steady pace all the way through it and pull away.’

Great Britain’s win reduced the championship points gap with New Zeland to just eight points with 11 still available this afternoon. On the prospect of taking second Kerr continued: ‘I am not focusing on the possibility of second in the championship as I just have to get out there and do my job.’

Second placed Nico Hülkenberg driving for series champions Germany said: ‘The start was not too bad but when I accelerated I stuck a bit in third gear because I went to the limiter and lost some metres there. Robbie had to close the door because France was tight behind me. But finally I saved second place. I still have to find a little bit more in the car as I think Robbie was quickest in the last couple of laps, but I had some problems. During practice I had some problems with my wrist as it is a very bumpy circuit. Now I have taped it and obviously there was no blood circulation any more and it was difficult to turn the car.’

Enrico Toccacelo took A1 Team Italy’s fifth podium finish of the series, commenting: ‘I’m really happy with the result because I was quite fast during the race and the balance of the car was good. I really hope to repeat that this afternoon. I was lucky when France made a mistake and went into the gravel as I was quite close to him. Then he came back to the circuit, but I was much faster than him so I could take advantage of this and overtake him. I had a bit of understeer so I hope to improve this and then get on the podium again for the Feature race.’

Sprint race results

Pos  Driver A1 Team  Time  Gap First
1 Robbie KERR GREAT BRITAIN 18:51.354 -
2 Nico HÜLKENBERG GERMANY 18:59.685 +8.331
3 Enrico TOCCACELO ITALY 19:04.877 +13.523
4 Loic DUVAL FRANCE 19:08.466 +17.112
5 Alex YOONG MALAYSIA 19:13.089 +21.735
6 Jeroen BLEEKEMOLEN NETHERLANDS 19:13.545 +22.191
7 Narain KARTHIKEYAN INDIA 19:13.912 +22.558
8 Richard LYONS IRELAND 19:20.539 +29.185
9 Jonathan SUMMERTON USA 19:20.912 +29.558
10 Sean McINTOSH CANADA 19:21.904 +30.550
11 Alvaro PARENTE PORTUGAL 19:22.079 +30.725
12 Bruno JUNQUEIRA BRAZIL 19:22.468 +31.114
13 Adrian ZAUGG SOUTH AFRICA 19:26.048 +34.694
14 Jan CHAROUZ CZECH REPUBLIC 19:27.956 +36.602
15 Ian DYK AUSTRALIA 19:29.649 +38.295
16 Matt HALLIDAY NEW ZEALAND 19:56.257 +1:04.903
17 Moreno SOEPRAPTO INDONESIA 20:05.124 +1:13.770
18 Juan Pablo GARCIA MEXICO 19:21.871 1 Lap
19 Allam KHODAIR LEBANON 14:30.474 4 Laps
20 Sebastien BUEMI SWITZERLAND 10:20.827 7 Laps
21 Nur ALI PAKISTAN 05:33.444 11 Laps
22 Congfu CHENG CHINA 02:54.573 13 Laps
Fastest lap: A1 Team Great Britain set the fastest lap (1.14.923) of the Sprint race with a speed of 177.9 kph on the final lap of the race, setting a new circuit lap record.


A1 Team Germany has put the icing on the top of its 2006/07 season victory, winning the Brands Hatch Feature race at this afternoon’s season finale ahead of Great Britain and Italy. Nico Hülkenberg took the chequered flag after a spirited battle with Sprint race winner and home team, Great Britain who kept the pressure on its German rivals throughout the race.

Commenting on what he called his best win ever, Germany’s Hülkenberg said: ‘After the pit stop he (Kerr) was right behind me. At the out lap I was pushing like hell. At the second corner I realised he was still behind me and I thought it is going to be a tough race because I knew he was quicker. Finally I managed to hold him up all race.’
Germany got the hop on Great Britain off the grid taking the lead into the first corner but Great Britain’s Robbie Kerr was not ready to lose his position that easily. Kerr immediately came back at Hülkenberg vying to regain the place with the two racing side by side for several corners. Germany eventually gained the advantage and slipped into the lead although Great Britain maintained the pressure throughout the race.

The gap between the two never exceeded 1.5 seconds and, despite a few tense moments for the team when Kerr raised some dust going wide on corners, for most of the race Germany led by less than one second. Kerr was not to be deterred and attacked continuously, temporarily regaining the lead on lap 17, only to lose it one turn later. While his second place never came under threat, Great Britain failed to knock Germany from the top spot and missed out on runner up spot in the Championship by just one point.

Commenting on the close call when Kerry slipped by him during the race, Hülkenberg said: ‘We had a bit of traffic. The four cars in front of us had not made their pit stops at this time so, they were slower that is why Robbie got so close. We had a bit of a fight, I was behind Switzerland and at the entry of turn five I was not on the outside but on the inside, had to lift in the corner, was very slow at the exit and Robbie obviously got beside me and got in front of me. But then for turn six he went a bit wide and I could catch him back.’

Great Britain’s Robbie Kerr went on to say: ‘Every time I got close to Nico though unfortunately I just lost a lot of down force, and you could not stay close for very long. So you just had to time it, do it in attack and then just back of and look after your tyres. The whole race being so close was just fantastic. It is so great to race against somebody who is hard as myself but is as fair. We have both ultimately got respect for each other, we did not hit each other we gave each other just enough room. We were going to push that little bit extra to try and beat the other man and unfortunately Nico got that bit ahead, and during the race we just could not make up for it.’

A1 Team Italy repeated its Sprint race performance, taking its second podium of the day and finishing the race in third. Driver Enrico Toccacelo came in for his pit stop seconds before the safety car was deployed and his comment on this and the close finish with A1 Team India was: ‘I have been lucky as I came in and there wasn’t a safety car. So I was lucky as I came in and after about ten seconds during the pit stop the safety car came out. I was lucky and happy for that. Today the big problem for me was that because after the safety car there was one car in front of me and blocked me. I lost time, I lost gap, I lost Robbie and Nico. The last lap Team India was really far from me but Team Mexico on the last lap completely blocked me until the last corner. So I finished the race with the Indian car too close to me.’

The timing of Italy’s pit stop was the subject of a protest by A1 Team Netherlands who felt the Italian team broke A1GP rules by pitting under the safety car. The protest was considered by the A1GP stewards who rejected the protest, ruling that A1 Team Italy headed into the pits before the safety car was deployed. A1 Team Netherlands have lodged their intention to appeal the stewards’ decision and have 48-hours (until 20.30 on Tuesday 1 May) to confirm this move. On confirmation, the appeal will go to the Motor Sport Association (MSA), the British ASN, who will give a final decision on the subject. Until this ruling, the results of today’s Feature race remain provisional.

While the front of the grid made a clean get away, further down the field the start was not so smooth. Australia and the Czech Republic made contact, damaging the steering of the gold and green car, sending it off the track and into the wall at Paddock Hill bend. After South Africa’s 25 second penalty for causing an avoidable incident in its Sprint race collision with Switzerland, the team was relegated to 15th on the grid behind Australia, embroiling them in the start line debacle. With the steering gone, Australian driver Ian Dyk had no control of the car and as it shot across the track, South Africa’s Adrian Zaugg was forced into the gravel to avoid his second collision of the day. While the Czech Republic continued, the incident brought an early end to Australia and South Africa’s race and the first safety car period of the day.

Australia left the track at speed, hitting the tyre wall with considerable force and while both Dyk and Zaugg walked away unharmed, substantial damage was caused to the wall. The safety car controlled the race for four laps while repair work was undertaken and as it returned to the pits at the end of lap five, Germany led, Great Britain, Italy, Malaysia, the Netherlands and Ireland who had made one of the best starts off the grid.

As the pit window opened at the end of lap eight, race leaders Germany were the first to head in for their mandatory stop. It looked like Great Britain intended to make the most of its time at the front of the pack, aiming to build up a comfortable lead before taking its mandatory stop. The British team had a quick change of strategy, however, when the Brazilian car hit the wall at Stirling’s and the possibility of a second safety car period became apparent. As mandatory pit stops under the safety car are not permitted under A1GP rules, the team made the decision to quickly head into the pits before the call was made. The decision appeared to pay off as the red, white and blue car of Kerr left the pit lane just behind Germany as the safety car took its position at the end of lap 10.

With the race leaders having pitted, Ireland, Portugal, Switzerland and Indonesia found themselves at the front of the pack ahead of Germany and Great Britain. For local team Ireland, this was the first time it had officially led an A1GP race but without having made its mandatory stop, it was not a situation the team could continue.

Unfortunately for the Irish, they led for one lap too many as the team, quickly followed by Switzerland, headed into the pits just missing the mandatory pit stop window, resulting in both teams being excluded from the race.

The safety car peeled off at the end of lap 14 and racing resumed. New Zealand, determined to defend its second place in the championship from Great Britain, was the first to make its move passing Malaysia at Hawthorne’s for 12th. As teams continued to pit, New Zealand moved further up the field, eventually overtaking Canada on lap 27, settling into eighth behind France. The finish gave New Zealand the three points needed to maintain its championship position by just one point.

Looking forward to the start of the 2007/08 season at Zandvoort in September, on behalf of the season champions Nico Hülkenberg said: ‘I really enjoyed A1GP. I will forever have great memories of A1GP travelling round the world having great races. Great fights, so I really want to come back next year. On the track we are racing. It is hard racing. It was nice racing with Robbie, it was hard but it was fair. As well we always have the media events on Thursday which are pretty nice for drivers. We can get in and chat and I really like stuff like this.’

Feature race results

Pos  Driver  A1 Team Time Gap First
1 Nico HÜLKENBERG GERMANY 1:11:01.907 -
2 Robbie KERR GREAT BRITAIN 1:11:02.526 +0.619
3 Enrico TOCCACELO ITALY 1:11:20.441 +18.534
4 Narain KARTHIKEYAN INDIA 1:11:20.704 +18.797
5 Jeroen BLEEKEMOLEN NETHERLANDS 1:11:28.176 +26.269
6 Jonathan SUMMERTON USA 1:11:30.123 +28.216
7 Loic DUVAL FRANCE 1:11:37.155 +35.248
8 Matt HALLIDAY NEW ZEALAND 1:11:37.392 +35.485
9 Alex YOONG MALAYSIA 1:11:39.420 +37.513
10 Congfu CHENG CHINA 1:11:48.328 +46.421
11 Alvaro PARENTE PORTUGAL 1:11:52.757 +50.850
12 Sean McINTOSH CANADA 1:11:04.140 1 Lap
13 Allam KHODAIR LEBANON 1:11:08.246 1 Lap
14 Juan Pablo GARCIA MEXICO 1:11:21.128 1 Lap
15 Jan CHAROUZ CZECH REPUBLIC 1:11:47.959 1 Lap
16 Moreno SOEPRAPTO INDONESIA 1:12:21.714 1 Lap
17 Nur ALI PAKISTAN 1:11:39.038 2 Laps
18 Bruno JUNQUEIRA BRAZIL 9 Laps 41 Laps
19 Ian DYK AUSTRALIA  0 Laps 50 Laps
20 Adrian ZAUGG SOUTH AFRICA  0 Laps 50 Laps
21 Sebastien BUEMI SWITZERLAND Excluded +
22 Richard LYONS IRELAND Excluded +

2006/07 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport final points standings:

1 Germany 128
2 New Zealand 93
3 Great Britain 92
4 France 67
5 Netherlands 57
6 Malaysia 55
7 Italy 52
8 Switzerland 50
9 USA 42
10 Mexico 35
11 Canada 33
12 Czech Republic 27
13 Australia 25
14 South Africa 24
15 China 22
16 India 13
17 Portugal 10
18 Brazil 9
19 Ireland 8
20 Singapore 3
21 Indonesia 1
22 Pakistan 1

Fastest lap:
A1 Team Great Britain set the fastest lap race lap in the Sprint race, lapping the Brands Hatch GP circuit in 1.14.923 with a speed of 177.9 kph on the final lap of the race, setting a new circuit lap record

Reporting by A1GP.com
Robbie Kerr (Team Great Britain) totally dominated the Sprint Race.
(Picture A1GP.com)
Nico Hülkenberg was a comfortable second for Team Germany.
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Enrico Toccacelo (Team Italy) drove an excellent race to finish third.
(Picture A1GP.com)
Loic Duval (Team France) dropped from third to fourth with a brief off-track excursion.
(Picture A1GP.com)
Jeroen Bleekemolen (Team Netherlands) and Narain Karthikeyan (Team India) had a close battle for sixth.
(Picture A1GP.com)
Adrian Zaugg (Team South Africa) and Sebastien Buemi (Team Switzerland) tangled on the exit from Paddock.
(Picture A1GP.com)
It's a tight squeeze into paddock...
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...and it hasn't got any easier as the cars funnel through Druids.
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The Team Great Britain crew greet Robbie Kerr on his return to the pits.
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Nico Hülkenberg, Robbie Kerr, Enrico Toccacelo and John Surtees on the victory rostrum.
(Picture A1GP.com)
Nico Hülkenberg drove a fast, composed race for Team Germany.
(Picture A1GP.com)
Robbie Kerr did all he could to take a second win in the Team Great Britain car.
(Picture A1GP.com)
Enrico Toccacelo (Team Italy) took his second third of the day.
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Narain Karthikeyan (Team India) narrowly missed out on a podium finish.
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Jeroen Bleekemolen (Team Netherlands) finished fifth.
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Sixth for Jonathan Summerton (Team USA).
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Loic Duval (Team France) was never in the hunt.
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Eighth place was enough for Team New Zealand to secure the runner-up place in the Championship.
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"Charlie" Cheng finished tenth for Team China.
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Nico Hülkenberg and Robbie Kerr were never more than a few car lengths apart for the whole race.
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Richard Lyons (Team Ireland) was exclude from the race.
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Thanks to the strength of the Lola-built A1GP chassis Ian Dyk (Team Australia) escaped injury after he had a big off at Paddock on the opening lap.
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Alvaro Parente (Team Portugal) leads a group of cars into Clearways.
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Sebastien Buemi (Team Switzerland) was also excluded from the race.
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Nico Hülkenberg celebrates with a few doughnuts in the Team Germany car...
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...and then set a new high-jump record.
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Robbie Kerr, Nico Hülkenberg and Enrico Toccacelo find themselves together again on the podium.
(Picture A1GP.com)
The fans turned out in very large numbers at Brands.
(Picture A1GP.com)