Ireland Dominate Chengdu Sprint Race

Double A1GP podium for Watts DOUBLE PODIUM FOR WATTS A1 Team Korea join forces with A1 Team China

A1GP Chengdu, China (Round 2 of 10)

Adam Carroll drove a faultless race to take A1 Team Irelands second series victory in Chengdu, China yesterday. A1 Team Netherlands , Robert Doornbos came home a comfortable second, while Danny Watts held off a fierce challenge from Switzerlands Neel Jani to claim the final podium position for A1 Team Great Britain.

As the cars came round the final corner for the rolling start, Carroll controlled the pack with Netherlands Doornbos making a good start alongside him to challenge into the first corner. Carroll held his line and by the end of the first lap had built up a 0.918s lead which he never looked in danger of relinquishing.

It an was impressive drive from Robert Doornbos on his debut for A1 Team Netherlands taking a comfortable second position, the teams best result in 19 races.

A1 Team Great Britains Watts, also having his first A1GP race, made a move around the outside of Switzerlands Jani to take third position off the start and began to pull out a small gap.

In the closing laps of the 18-lap race, the battle for third began to heat up as Switzerlands Jani closed in on the British car. Watts advantage over the Swiss driver was down to 0.686 seconds and Jani was preparing to make a move. In the final two laps the tension mounted but the experienced Watts held position, taking the first points of the season for A1 Team GBR.

Out at the front Carrolls superb drive saw the Celtic Tiger cross the line two seconds ahead of the chasing pack, the  dominance underlined as he continued to set fastest lap after fastest lap, eventually taking the extra point for his efforts on lap 16, a 1m 16.084s.

South Africas Adrian Zaugg brought Vulindlela home in fifth ahead of Portugals Filipe Albuquerque. New Zealands Chris van der Drift, also on his race debut, brought Black Beauty home in the final points-paying position.

Chinas Ho-Pin Tung had a spin on the first lap putting him further down the order. He made his way back to a lowly 17th and is looking to improve in front of his home crowd in this afternoons Feature race.

Brazil had electrical problems causing it to drop down the order and at one point stop out on track but, as the safety car waited on stand-by, Felipe Guimares managed to crawl back to the pit lane.

Its brilliant, said Carroll  The guys have worked so hard and were due the results and this year I think we are going to get what we deserve.

I managed to get into turn one first and tried control it from there, said Irelands Carroll. Obviously, I knew Robert was going to be very quick and pushing extremely hard so I just kept my head down and tried not to make any mistakes, I know its going to be a pretty long race this afternoon.

Doornbos commented: It feels good, obviously, its the best impression you can make. We started strong, just missing pole by six thousandths, and in the race it was the same. We kept each other alive going into turn one, which is important because there is another race, but with second place, I am very happy. I think we had a strong pace compared to the rest of the field so we can be proud of this result.

Great Britains Danny Watts said: Its a great result and a great reward for all the hard work all the boys have put in over the week, because they have put in a massive amount of hours through the nights. The third place is good points on the board.

I had a good move round the outside of Jani at the first corner and I just had to pursue it. After that it was just a case of trying to hold onto the back of these two (Carroll and Doornbos). I had to keep it clean and tidy and not let Jani by again.

The cars now prepare for this afternoons Feature race. Great Britain is on pole and hoping to take victory from Ireland, who are also starting from the front row and will be eager to make it back onto the top step of the podium.

Sprint race results

Pos  A1 Team /  Driver /  Laps  Time //  Gap First1 IRELAND  Adam CARROLL 18 22:58.470 -2 NETHERLANDS  Robert DOORNBOS 18 23:00.507 2.0373 GREAT BRITAIN  Danny WATTS 18 23:12.831 14.3614 SWITZERLAND  Neel JANI 18 23:13.089 14.6195 SOUTH AFRICA  Adrian ZAUGG 18 23:18.578 20.1086 PORTUGAL  Filipe ALBUQUERQUE 18 23:18.945 20.4757 NEW ZEALAND  Chris VAN DER DRIFT 18 23:25.694 27.2248 FRANCE  Nicolas PROST 18 23:26.393 27.9239 MONACO  Clivio PICCIONE 18 23:28.848 30.37810 INDIA  Narain KARTHIKEYAN 18 23:30.738 32.26811 AUSTRALIA  John MARTIN 18 23:31.668 33.19812 LEBANON Daniel MORAD 18 23:32.763 34.29313 MALAYSIA  Fairuz FAUZY 18 23:33.125 34.65514 ITALY  Edoardo PISCOPO 18 23:35.011 36.54115 USA  Marco ANDRETTI 18 23:36.572 38.10216 MEXICO  David GARZA 18 23:40.981 42.51117 CHINA  Ho Pin TUN 18 23:48.081 49.61118 INDONESIA  Satrio HERMANTO 18 24:02.598 +1:04.12819 KOREA  Jin Woo HWANG 18 24:04.641 +1:06.17120 BRAZIL  Felipe GUIMARAES 14 23:49.356 4 Laps

Fastest lap: A1 Team IRL set the fastest lap (1m16.084s) of the Sprint race with a speed of 157.6 kph on lap 17.

2008/09 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport points standings

Pos   A1 Team/   Points1 France  232 Malaysia  223 New Zealand  204 Netherlands  195 Ireland  116 Switzerland  97 Australia  88 South Africa  79 Great Britain  610 Monaco  511 Korea  412 Portugal  313 Lebanon  314 USA  315 Italy  216 China  217 India  018 Indonesia  019 Brazil  020 Mexico  0