India wins dramatic season finale

A1 Team India secured its second win of the season when Narain Karthikeyan took victory in the A1GP season finale at Brands Hatch yesterday afternoon.

India was involved in a race-long battle with Robbie Kerr of home nation Great Britain, who notched up another home race podium after a strong drive. The decisive moment was the second mandatory pit stop, when India was stationary for less time than Great Britain, and Karthikeyan was able to snatch the lead.

From that point on, Karthikeyan was able to control the race and take India’s second win of the season.

‘I made a good start,’ Karthikeyan said. ‘Robbie tried to go round the outside but I defended that move. When we came out of the first pit stop I had a coming together with Adam Carroll – I didn’t see him because I had a moment and he tried to go up the inside and I hit him. But anyway, it was a great result for A1 Team India and after the final pit stop my car was mega.’

Kerr was disappointed with finishing second, and just missing out on that elusive home Feature race win. He had already won the Sprint race earlier in the day to the delight of the home crowd.

‘It was a fantastic weekend for GBR, it was just a shame we couldn’t pull the second win off,’ Kerr said. ‘Narain and I were so equal and after the first pit stop we thought we had done enough. Then unfortunately the second pit stop didn’t quite go our way, but it’s a team sport and we all worked hard. It’s just one of those things.’

Newly crowned A1GP champion A1 Team Switzerland’s Neel Jani joined India and GBR on the podium in third position while China’s Congfu Cheng finished in a superb fourth place after a great weekend at a circuit he knows well.

Fifth was taken by Franck Montagny, helping France to fourth place in the championship, followed by the Netherlands’ Jeroen Bleekemolen in a solid sixth.

New Zealand’s Jonny Reid did just enough to secure second in the championship behind Switzerland, who took the title honours after this morning’s Sprint race. Reid carved his way through the pack from 17th to seventh during the course of the 48-lap race, partly due to swift work in the pits from the New Zealand crew.

Portugal’s Filipe Albuquerque snatched seventh from the Kiwi with just four laps remaining, demoting Reid to eighth at the chequered flag. It was still enough to take second in the championship, beating GBR by just one point in the final standings.Indonesia’s Satrio Hermanto crossed the line 10th to score his nation’s first point this season. Hermanto put in a superb effort to hang onto the final points-paying position, after last-lap pressure from the Czech Republic and South Africa.

Ireland’s Adam Carroll, who was on course for another podium finish after a sterling drive to third in the Sprint race this morning, crossed the line 13th to secure sixth in the final championship standings.

Carroll got a great start and ran in third for the first part of the race, before losing his car’s front wing and being forced to pit for repairs outside the compulsory pit stop windows. The Northern Irish star was clearly pushing hard after rejoining in 18th on lap 20, setting the fastest lap of the race on lap 44.

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