A pair of point scoring finishes at Eastern Creek helped propel A1 Grand Prix Team Netherlands three places up the overall championship into a tie for sixth position thanks to the rapid starting Jeroen Bleekemolen.

Bleekemolen started the sprint race from eighth on the grid and immediately gained two positions. While a safety car intervention and subsequent restart nearly allowed him to take fifth spot away from Switzerland, the Dutchman elected to follow his European rival to the flag and save his bright orange mount for the main feature race.

Once again the start would prove to be pivotal for many of the 22 competing nations on a weekend where on-track passing was something of a rarity and luckily for the Netherlands, Bleekemolen was once again up to the task.

From a standing start the Dutch car moved up three places before turn one with Bleekemolen slotting into third place behind New Zealand and Germany. An early race safety car period passed without incident for the frontrunners and Bleekemolen was able to maintain station through his mandatory pit stop.

However China's daring late stop strategy coupled with some inspired driving from Ho Pin Tung would see their car pass Bleekemolen and move up to third place. Despite the obvious disappointment of missing out on a podium finish, everyone in the Netherlands camp was happy with Bleekemolen's two finishes.

"I think we had a pretty good weekend," concluded Bleekemolen, whose performances moved his country past Mexico, Italy and Canada in the overall points championship and into a tie with Malaysia. "Fifth and fourth, just like the last race, but now in reverse order. I am quite pleased.

"Two times a very good start where I was able to make up some positions. It was too bad that we lost the podium in the race. Our stop did not go 100 percent perfect, but everybody has got something sometimes. We can be quite pleased with this and are in reach of fourth place in the Championship, it is only two points. We are doing well and have been competitive in the last few races. Especially now that we are going to Durban, where we should be able to run in front, it is looking good".

Racing for Holland team boss Jan Lammers was a similarly positive outlook.

"All things considered we have had the maximum result this weekend," stated the former Formula One driver. "We moved up from tenth to a joint sixth place in the Championship. Jeroen did a very good job, with a very good start in both races.

"The podium might have been possible, we had a good weekend, and China just had a fantastic weekend. That's the reality. They took more risk with the late pitstop and it paid off. Looking at the races as a seat holder instead of team principal we had a fantastic race day today, with well deserved podium finishers".

 

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