Having failed to register a point with Tuka Rocha in the first two rounds of the A1 Grand Prix, Brazil's decision to offer Raphael Matos a chance in Beijing proved to be a shrewd move after he scored a double point's finish.

In an attempt to utilise Matos' experience from competing in the predominantly street race based Champ Car Atlantic Series, it did not take long for Emerson Fittipaldi's decision to pay after Brazil appeared towards the head of the timesheets in practice for the first time this season.

Of course, the sixth fastest time Matos posted in that practice session would also see him start the sprint race from that position. Furthermore, the distinct lack of overtaking on the tough circuit meant he would finish there too, thus taking the sixth and final point on offer to get Brazil off the mark.

Starting sixth in the feature race, Matos remained well in contention over the early laps but with the pit stop window open he was caught out by the deployment of the safety car just as the team had planned to pit, forcing him to stay out as the regulations state and allow those who had already pitted to gain a clear advantage.

Once Matos had eventually pitted, further safety car periods allowed him to catch up but with overtaking so difficult, getting back to the head of the field was always going to prove tough.

Nonetheless, Matos used his street race skills to good use by getting past some cars, including a daring move on Singapore's Christian Murchison for seventh place late on, a position he would retain to the chequered flag to secure a further four points.

Still, while Matos was happy to have provided Brazil their first points, as well as claim the second fastest lap of the weekend, he admits that he missed out on an even better result thanks to the unlucky timing of the pit stops.

"Today was so much about luck with the pit-stops. We thought the time we picked to come in would be a good idea, but it didn't work out this time. We also lost a bit of time in the stop with a little problem on the left rear, but that's part of racing and we just have to get over it.

"I'm very pleased for the team and we've made a lot of progress through the weekend. I really want to thank Emerson for giving me this chance and now I definitely feel we can be at the top for the next races."

Team principal Emerson Fittipaldi was also full of praise for the 25-year-old, but he too blamed their strategy for missing out on what could have been a spot on the podium.

"On the first yellow flag inside the pitstop window we were going to come in for the stop but then they closed the pits and we lost the segment from the race, which really put us down around ten positions. Raphael did a fantastic job, overtook a few guys, and got the second fastest lap of the race.

"The team also did a great job. The results are improving and we have some points now, so there are a lot of positives to take from this weekend."

 

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