He may have finished four laps off the lead and his best lap may have proved four seconds slower than the fastest of the day, but Nur Ali nonetheless did what 14 other drivers couldn't by reaching the chequered flag in Durban, and with it score an invaluable point for minnows Pakistan.

Although not the first time the nation has scored in A1 Grand Prix - Adam Khan scoring a fifth place finish at Shanghai last season -, Ali's achievement was nonetheless one to celebrate as he kept his emerald-liveried Lola out of the wall to make the most of rivals' problems.

However, Ali only just kept it away from Durban's fearsome barriers after being caught up in two accidents through the feature race, losing time on both occasions but, crucially, never stopping.

"The races were difficult today, we were the victims of two accidents in the Feature race and had to use reverse a couple of times, but fortunately, nothing got broken. I followed our strategy to stay out of trouble and get the car to the end and it worked.

"It's a really great result and I hope we can carry this momentum into the last three races of the season. The programme for the season only came together at the very last minute but I think this result shows we are making progress."

Pakistan team boss Bobby Issazadhe was delighted with the result and exceptionally proud of Ali's efforts throughout the race.

"It's a brilliant, brilliant result, it was obviously a very difficult race. Many top drivers made mistakes and went off, but Nur did a perfect job, he followed instructions and the strategy we had talked about to score his first points in A1GP. Hopefully there will be more to come."

 

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