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Portugal win Chengdu feature.

Filipe Albuquerque claimed a maiden win in the A1GP Chengdu feature race to help Portugal become the 17th different nation to take an A1GP victory.

The Portuguese team took the lead thanks to a slick first pit stop and held off the charge from A1 Team Ireland's Adam Carroll in the closing stages. Great Britain's Danny Watts took the final podium position after starting on pole but dropping back after his two mandatory pit stops.

From pole position, Watts made a good start to lead the pack into the first corner. Portugal also made a great start from third to challenge Ireland for second position. Ireland, starting on the dirtier side of the track, struggled to get traction, allowing Portugal to get a good run round the outside of turn one on the racing line and take the position. Starting eighth, Robert Doornbos' A1 Team Netherlands car stalled on the grid forcing the immediate deployment of the safety car before the end of the first lap, while the car was pushed back to the pits. The team got the car re-started and Doornbos made his way back out, albeit a lap down.

Great Britain led from Portugal, Ireland and Monaco as the race re-started on lap four with Watts powering across the line with a clear gap at the front. Carroll was right on the back of the Portuguese car, having a look around the outside through turn one while also defending from Monaco's Clivio Piccione in fourth.

Watts' lead was now 1.5-seconds from Portugal as the first mandatory pit stop window opened. Great Britain were first to dive into the pits with Monaco, Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand and China also following suit. A lap later Ireland pitted with a quick, clean tyre change from the Irish squad getting Carroll back out on track in second, but when Albuquerque pitted on the next lap, a blisteringly quick stop from the team handed Portugal what would be the lead of the race, after the everyone had pitted.

As Great Britain and Ireland made their way through traffic, Albuquerque began building up a comfortable lead when New Zealand appeared to be slowing along the pit straight with an electrical problem. Chris van der Drift eventually managed to get Black Beauty going with seemingly no further problem.

By the end of lap 14 Portugal had a 2.385-second lead from Great Britain and Switzerland were starting to hunt down Ireland for third. Albuquerque increased his lead to four seconds, leaving him in a strong position in the lead.
Portugal now led from Great Britain, Ireland, Switzerland, Australia, Malaysia, Monaco, France, USA and China.

Further down the field Lebanon's Daniel Morad was having a good battle with Italy for 14th as the second pit stop window drew closer. For the second round of mandatory pit stops it was Portugal and Great Britain who were first to come in. Ireland took advantage of the extra time out on track, pushing hard on his in lap to try and make up time on the pair in front. Portugal re-joined in the lead but Watts emerged in traffic losing vital seconds. A1 Team Ireland made another great stop and Carroll was able to take second from Watts and set his sights on a second win of the day. On new tyres, Carroll set the fastest lap of the race so far, 1m 16.003s, his pace allowing him to close the gap on Albuquerque and as the pair started lap 33 the Carroll was visibly closer, just 0.422-seconds adrift.

After going a lap down at the start Doornbos showed what might have been if he had kept his eighth grid-slot as he clocked the fastest lap of the race, a 1m 15.212s on lap 33, faster than yesterday's pole position time set by Danny Watts.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Filipe Albuquerque - A1 Team Portugal [pic credit: A1GP Media]
Team GBR team principal Katie Clements with the British A1GP car adorned with Bruce Nivison`s name in Chengdu, China in 2008
Adrian Zaugg - A1 Team South Africa [pic credit: A1GP Media]
Adam Carroll - A1 Team Ireland [pic credit: A1GP Media]
Fairuz Fauzy - A1 Team Malaysia [pic credit: A1GP Media]
David Garza - A1 Team Mexico [pic credit: A1GP Media]
Felipe Guimaraes - A1 Team Brazil [pic credit: A1GP Media]
Alexandre Imperatori - A1 Team Switzerland [pic credit: A1GP Media]
Neel Jani - A1 Team Switzerland [pic credit: A1GP Media]
Neel Jani - A1 Team Switzerland [pic credit: A1GP Media]
Narain Karthikeyan - A1 Team India [pic credit: A1GP Media]
John Martin - A1 Team Australia [pic credit: A1GP Media]
Adam Carroll - A1 Team Ireland [pic credit: A1GP Media]
The multi-coloured A1GP pack gather in parc ferme [pic credit: A1GP Media]
Robert Doornbos - A1 Team Netherlands [pic credit: A1GP Media]
Danny Watts - A1 Team Great Britain [pic credit: A1GP Media]
Danny Watts - A1 Team Great Britain [pic credit: A1GP Media]
Danny Watts - A1 Team Great Britain [pic credit: A1GP Media]

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March 19, 2010 9:13 PM

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