in 45 Races
Jeroen Bleekemolen took the Netherlands first victory in Season Four in the Go-GP.Org A1GP Gauteng, South Africa Sprint race. Bleekemolen drove a faultless race around the 2.65-mile Kyalami circuit to win by 4.407-seconds from Portugals Filipe Albuquerque. Switzerlands Neel Jani had a good start to move up to second off the standing start, but finished third after losing time trying to manoeuvre round Malaysias car, which had pitted in front of him.
Bleekemolen made a clean getaway from the standing start to lead the chasing pack into turn one for the first time. Switzerland had a great start from third to take second position from Portugal while Indias Narain Karthikeyan also had a good start to move up from fifth to fourth.
India was not able to hold position for long as an aggressive move by Clivio Piccione moved Monaco ahead into fourth with Irelands Adam Carroll also sensing an opportunity to get ahead only a few corners later, so pushing India down to sixth.
China's Ho Pin Tung and New Zealand's Earl Bamber were having a good battle for eleventh. China made a move at turn 13 on lap three but out-braked himself allowing New Zealand to re-take the position.
Malaysias Fairuz Fauzy moved up ahead of Frances Nicolas Prost for eighth, while the Netherlands was storming away at the front with Bleekemolen having a 4.686-second lead over Switzerland by lap four.
With the order now the Netherlands from Switzerland, Portugal, Monaco, Ireland, India, South Africa, Malaysia, France and Italy, the pit window opened. The Netherlands and Switzerland were first in the pits with the following three runners staying out on track an extra lap. Bleekemolen had a smooth stop but Switzerland lost time having to get away slowly to manoeuvre round Malaysias car, which had pitted just in front. Portugal pitted a lap later and was able to re-take second from Switzerland. After the only mandatory stop of the race the order was now the Netherlands leading by 6.4 seconds from Portugal, Switzerland, Monaco, Ireland, India, South Africa, New Zealand, Malaysia, France.
A1 Team Australias fantastic pit work boosted John Martin six places up the field to his eventual finishing position, twelfth. While A1 Team New Zealand moved up three places after the stop.
Portgal was on a charge setting the fastest lap of the race on lap 9 with a time of 1m29.072s, slightly closing the gap to the Netherlands.
Further down the field, Great Britains Danny watts and Brazils Felipe Guimares came together fighting for fifteenth. The pair touched heading into turn one with Watts car spinning into the gravel and out the race.
A very happy Bleekemolen came through to take the chequered flag and record the teams first win in 45 races. Obviously South Africa is lucky for the team as its first of three wins to date was round the streets of Durban in Season One. Switzerland and Portugal completed the podium with Ireland taking fourth from Monaco on the last lap, retaining its championship lead.
Race winner Jeroen Bleekemolen said: Im feeling pretty good. It all just went amazingly. It was a very hard race for me though, because in the beginning I could feel there was some kind of pull with the fuel pick up. It didnt cost me any time but I could just feel it coming. And then after the pit stop the car just stopped and I feared the race would be over, but it started working again. I lost about one and half or two seconds, but luckily we were still able to win.
In the beginning we were really quick, I dont know why we were so much faster, but everything worked. The car worked really well until the problem came but then it still was exciting for me.
Portugals Filipe Albuquerque said: The team did a very good job and I managed to pass Switzerland. Im really happy with the fastest lap and second place.
Im still aiming for the lead of the championship. Its going to be an interesting Feature race now because we are all together in the middle of the grid. We will see who the luckiest guy is because anything can happen.
Switzerlands Neel Jani said: We were second and then unfortunately we had some problems at the pit stop. First of all the pit stop was not that quick, and then I couldnt get out because Malaysia was parked in front of me. We have to be happy with third though as its still points so lets see what happens in the next race.
Sprint Race Results
Sprint Race Results
Pos A1 Team / Driver / Laps/ Time/ GapFirst1 NETHERLANDS Jeroen BLEEKEMOLEN 14 21:35.105 -2 PORTUGAL Filipe ALBUQUERQUE 14 21:39.512 4.4073 SWITZERLAND Neel JANI 14 21:45.705 10.64 IRELAND Adam CARROLL 14 21:48.030 12.9255 MONACO Clivio PICCIONE 14 21:49.468 14.3636 INDIA Narain KARTHIKEYAN 14 21:53.579 18.4747 SOUTH AFRICA Adrian ZAUGG 14 21:56.283 21.1788 NEW ZEALAND Earl BAMBER 14 22:01.644 26.5399 MALAYSIA Fairuz FAUZY 14 22:02.030 26.92510 FRANCE Nicolas PROST 14 22:03.206 28.10111 ITALY Edoardo PISCOPO 14 22:07.186 32.08112 AUSTRALIA John MARTIN 14 22:09.579 34.47413 CHINA Ho Pin TUNG 14 22:12.909 37.80414 GERMANY Michael AMMERMULLER 14 22:14.173 39.06815 BRAZIL Felipe GUIMARAES 14 22:14.822 39.71716 MEXICO Salvador DURAN 14 22:20.111 45.00617 USA Marco ANDRETTI 14 22:30.741 55.63618 INDONESIA Zahir ALI 14 22:52.829 +1:17.72419 GREAT BRITAIN Danny WATTS 9 14:34.388 5 Laps20 LEBANON Daniel MORAD 6 22:55.340 8 Laps
Fastest lap: A1 Team Portugal set the fastest lap (1m29.072s) of the Sprint race with a speed of 172.3kph on lap 9.