SALVADOR DURAN/A1Team Mexico accomplished what only three other teams have done all season in A1GP - won both the Sprint and Feature Races in one weekend.

Duran made the best of wet and changing weather conditions at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey California and won the Feature race from the pole - earned by winning the Sprint Race. He made up for the disaster of a home town race in Monterrey Mexico a fortnight ago.

Duran started on slicks, a bold move considering the deluge in the Sprint Race. After the race, he said he "really have been learning a lot from Nicolas."

Newly crowned A1GP Champion, NICOLAS LAPIERRE/A1Team France, got an edge on polesitter Duran and led until the field starting pitting.

GRAHAM RAHAL/A1Team Lebanon was the only driver not to pit and on Lap Five took over the lead. He led until the restart after the first caution - brought out when STEPHEN SIMPSON/A1Team South Africa got caught out on a wet patch exiting Turn Six, and his day was ended.

After the restart, newly crowned A1GP Champion, Lapierre overtook Rahal for the lead and kept it until his gearbox gave out. Lapierre parked it, finishing fourteenth, three laps down. He did, however, turn the fastest race lap of 1:17.951 on Lap 27 of the 40-lap race. Lapierre turned six fastest race laps, more than the other four drivers who went fastest at one time or another during the hour-long race. The race was scheduled for 44 laps or an hour, whichever came first.

Rahal ran second until the first of two spins, caused by his damaged steering rack making driving increasingly difficult. That and his injured thumb. Both spins were Turn Three, where several drivers were getting caught out, including ANANDA MIKOLA/A1Team Indonesia.

The first Rahal spin let by his chasers by - Duran, TIMO SCHEIDER/A1Team Germany and ROBBIE KERR/A1Team Great Britain. Rahal pitted for his mandatory stop, and came out on cold tires. He spun again in Turn Three, stalling and bringing out the Safety Car on Lap 28. Thus his race was ended.

Lapierre held off the challengers until his gearbox failed and he faded to a stop. Duran took the lead and went on to win, and Scheider and Kerr finished second and third.

Kerr said "I must thank the team, John Clements and John Surtees. Hopefully I will be back next year, it's been great to represent Great Britain. It was unfortunate that Nicolas had problems, but obviously I was quite pleased because I benefited from it. France have done a great job all season and congratulations to them for winning the Series."

Lapierre said "We had trouble with the battery. The gear box was stuck in third and then the engine stopped. But this is racing and it was our first problem in 20 races. The team has been brilliant. We have had a great season, with 13 wins and winning the Series two races early."

Lapierre said "'We had trouble with the battery. The gear box was stuck in third and then the engine stopped. But this is racing and it was our first problem in 20 races. The team has been brilliant. We have had a great season, with 13 wins and winning the Series two races early."

ALVARO PARENTE/A1Team Portugal finished fourth, followed by PATRICK CARPENTIER/A1Team Canada in another good finish.

BRYAN HERTA/A1Team USA said it wasn't a good race. The car wasn't good. "I hit Ralph twice (RALPH FIRMAN/A1Team Ireland and probably would have hit him a third time if I could have gotten to him. We made setup changes on the grid and they weren't right." Herta finished fifteenth, three laps down.

After the wet Sprint Race, the Feature Race started, ran and finished in the dry. All but three of the teams started out on wet tires. There were wholesale pit stops almost immediately, to change tires - meeting the requirement for a mandatory pit stop during the race.

JOS VERSTAPPEN/A1Team Netherlands had a character-building weekend. He received two drive-through penalties. The first was given for "undertaking under caution" which he served. The second was a speeding ticket, for 60 mph in the pit lane when he came in for his first penalty. Verstappen came in the second time, got out of the car, and stormed out to the paddock. Later he said "It was said that I had overtaken under yellow, during the first lap of the safety car situation. As I passed the pitlane exit, the Czech Republic came out after their stop. I was next to them and went into turn 2 in front of the Czech Republic. I did not see any yellow flags in turn 2 and was very surprised that the officials decided to give a through. When entering the pitlane I might have been over the speed limit a bit. If you receive another penalty straight away, it's no use continuing the race. Next to that I suffered from 'free play' in the steering after the contact with Brazil." The interviewer said "Thanks for not swearing" and Verstappen brusquely shrugged and walked away.

JAN LAMMERS, Seat Holder (owner) of A1Team Netherlands had a lot to say after the race.

"Principally speaking, you should never give up, but under these considering what happened I can easily understand this. We know Jos is someone who has got temperament. We all think that's great with overtaking and action on the track. If something like this happens he has got the same temperament, we just have to accept this. I don't think it would have made a big difference if we would have continued the race. As far as the penalties are concerned we are busy checking the facts. We have to see if the data we have is correct. It will be a borderline case and of course we are leaning towards the opinion that it was just a wrong call. We first have to check this.

"When we received the second drive through the race was over for us. If it's concluded that the officials made a wrong decision we have to see what our options are. Maybe officials can also receive some penalty or fine if they make a wrong decision. We want to make sure for the future and for the quality of decisions. These are things we have to work on for next year in a positive, productive way.

The whole weekend was very difficult for us. We did not come here for this. We have to asses the damage after the weekend. It could well be much better when we head off to China.

"It's a good thing there's always tomorrow. Thank God for tomorrow."

"I still think A1 is the best thing to happen in Motorsports."

Regarding Duran's win, Lammers said "It's great to see that people get what they deserve, and after what happened to Duran in Mexico, it was a well deserved victory."

The A1GP's season finale race is three weeks away in China.

OFFICIAL A1GP FEATURE RACE RESULTS

POS TEAM DRIVER LAPS STATUS

1 MEXICO SALVADOR DURAN 40 RUNNING
2 GERMANY TIMO SCHEIDER 40 RUNNING
3 GREAT BRITAIN ROBBIE KERR 40 RUNNING
4 PORTUGAL ALVARO PARENTE 40 RUNNING
5 CANADA PATRICK CARPENTIER 40 RUNNING
6 IRELAND RALPH FIRMAN 40 RUNNING
7 ITALY MAX PAPIS 40 RUNNING
8 AUSTRALIA RYAN BRISCOE 40 RUNNING
9 AUSTRIA MATHIAS LAUDA 40 RUNNING
10 MALAYSIA ALEX YOONG 40 RUNNING
11 PAKISTAN ADAM KHAN 40 RUNNING
12 NEW ZEALAND MATT HALLIDAY 40 RUNNING
13 SWITZERLAND GIORGIO MONDINI 38 RUNNING
14 FRANCE NICOLAS LAPIERRE 37 GEARBOX
15 USA BRIAN HERTA 37 RUNNING
16 CZECH REPUBLIC TOMAS ENGE 34 ACCIDENT
17 CHINA TENGYI HIANG 33 ACCIDENT
18 BRAZIL CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI 29 RUNNING
19 INDONESIA ANANDA MIKOLA 28 SPIN
20 LEBANON GRAHAM RAHAL 27 SPIN
21 NETHERLANDS JOS VERSTAPPEN 17 RETIRED
22 SOUTH AFRICA STEPHEN SIMPSON 3 ACCIDENT

 

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