Nicolas Lapierre showed that overtaking in Beijing was actually possible after the Team France driver battled from the rear of the field to claim a strong fourth place finish in the third round of the A1GP season.

Lapierre was the big loser on Saturday when qualifying was cancelled, with grid positions being determined by a shortened practice session in which the French team had suffered from mechanical problems.

It meant Lapierre lined up 21st on the 22 car grid and in the sprint race he managed to climb up to 17th place - where he would then start the feature race.

The Frenchman soon started to make his moves up the grid and his own pace, coupled with problems for some of the runners ahead, eventually allowed him to come home fourth, despite late drama while fighting for position with James Hinchcliffe which ended with the Canadian sliding into the wall.

"It is an incredible achievement to start 17th and finish fourth," he said. "At one point, I simply thought I would never make it to the end. Three laps before the end, I could feel that my brakes were wearing out and on the penultimate lap, I thought I for a moment I wouldn't be able to avoid James as he crashed, but it was fine in the end.

"I really would like to thank my mechanics the engineers. They all worked very late last night to completely rebuild the car and found the origin of the problem that was slowing us down since the Brno race. It was a really great example of teamwork. It was a hard race and this fourth place is worth a win, considering how hard we've all worked."

Team manager Eric Boullier was pleased to see Lapierre end the weekend with a strong result after the various problems that had been encountered.

"A difficult weekend finishes on a positive note," he said. "We solved the electrical engine problems on the car. We finished the feature race fourth after a difficult qualifying and gathered seven points over the weekend. The mechanics and engineers have done a fantastic work for Nicolas Lapierre all weekend. The start was difficult, but we really enjoyed the first street race in Beijing and certainly hope to come back next year and show our real potential on this track."

 

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