Switzerland wins feature race
CAPE TOWN: Switzerland scored its ninth A1GP race victory and took the lead in the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport when Neel Jani, the most capped A1GP driver, converted a fifth place on the starting grid to a convincing win in round five of the series at Kyalami on Sunday afternoon.
He took over the lead from series rookie Monaco (Clivio Piccione), who had given his country its first pole position, at the first of the two mandatory pit stops on lap nine and completed the 40-lap race in a time of 1hr 2m 24,617s, a comfortable 13,176s ahead of Brazil (Felipe Guimaraes).
Guimaraes started from eighth on the grid and was up to fourth place by the first round of pit stops.
By half distance he was third and, with another good pit stop, he passed Monaco''s Piccione for second place at the chequered flag.
Netherlands (Jeroen Bleekemolen) was fourth, ahead of Portugal (Felipe Albuquerque), Lebanon (Daniel Morad), Great Britain (Danny Watts), USA (Marco Andretti), Indonesia (Zahir Ali) and Italy (Edoardo Piscopo).
Jani, the most capped A1GP driver (56 starts since the end of the first season in 2006) was very complementary about the Kyalami circuit, and voiced the views of many of the drivers. "Kyalami is one of those ''old school'' tracks - you make a mistake and it punishes you.
That''s how motor racing should be." Piccione, new to A1GP but with impressive racing credentials, earned Monaco its best result to date. Fastest lap of the race went to Malaysia (Aaron Lim) at 1m 28,306, a new outright lap record for the current Kyalami layout.
It was again heartbreak for South Africa and Adrian Zaugg in their home grand prix. The 22-year-old started from a very disadvantageous 15th on the grid, but was already up to 12th at the end of the first lap. He made up another three places before the first mandatory pit stop and just failed to make up another place when he emerged from the pits behind Portugal after a slick pit stop by the South African pit crew.
There was an audible groan from the partisan and enthusiastic South African crowd as Vulindlela slowed dramatically on lap 17 while lying seventh.
The distinctively-liveried car, painted in the colours of the South African flag, almost came to a standstill in turn 12 and Zaugg struggled to get the car going and limped back to the pits and retirement.