on podium finishes with Neel Jani
Driving for A1 Team Switzerland, Neel Jani finished fourth both in the sprint and in the feature race at Chengdu (China). The team led by Max Welti showed a solid performance.
In the sprint race, Neel Jani lost one place at the start and dropped back from third to fourth. The 24-year old had to start on the dirtier side of the track, which was an obvious disadvantage.
Although he had qualified fourth for the feature race, as the pole position for the Grand Prix start at the Feature Race is on the otherside as for the rooling Start, Jani had to overcome the same disadvantage. Jani had a good start, but almost went off the track as Portuguese driver Filipe Albuquerque, who had started in front of him, braked far too late. The Swiss driver temporarily dropped back to fifth, but a great first pit stop allowed him to gain back one place.
"At the end of the season, we can be happy with results like this", said team principal Max Welti. "Of course, like any real racer, we wanted victory or at least a podium finish. Today, we just missed out." For Switzerland, the race in China was the proper start of the season after Jani still had had to drive the car of Team Pakistan in The Netherlands as Ferrari hadn't been able to supply all the teams in time. "We are happy that our car worked so well and that we didn't have any technical problems", said Welti. Jani himself was also pleased with his corporate car for the moment: "In practice, I was really fast, but in qualifying, I missed two or three tenths of a second that I also missed in the race."
The first four drivers pulled away from the rest of the field, Jani never came under pressure from behind. As the track only allows for overtaking manoeuvres on the main straight and the much dirt off the ideal line made things even more difficult, Jani wasn't able to move up any further. Welti praised the effort of his staff: "We have seen once more that Neel is certainly one of the fastest drivers and that our team certainly is one of the best."
Everybody involved is highly confident for the rest of the season, also wth an eye on the calendar. Next stop for the A1GP series is Malaysia and Jani is considering Sepang as his favourite circuit. So far, he has always been on pole position there. "Hopefully, it will remain like that", Jani said.