Jonny Reid made the best of a bad job in Mexico City last weekend, as a gutsy performance at the wheel of 'Black Beauty' kept New Zealand in the title fight by the skin of its teeth.

A frustrating qualifying session had left the 23-year-old down in 14th place on the grid, before a puncture caused by debris destroyed his chances in the shorter sprint race having worked his way up to eighth, within striking distance of the points-scoring positions. Although he pitted and rejoined and would go on to set the race's third-fastest lap to show what might have been, it was scant consolation as the crown continues to slip away from the Kiwis.

Subsequently forced once again to begin towards the back of the grid in the all-important feature, Reid charged through the pack to finish sixth and reduce Germany's lead at the top of the nations' standings from 31 points to 28 - but with only 34 still to play for in the remaining two rounds.

"It's all we could ask for really," the A1GP veteran admitted. "We had a bit of damage to the front end after Italy closed the door on me at the start of the sprint race and we struggled for straightline speed all day.

"That's why we couldn't get past Malaysia after battling through the field but, given I had France stuck on my rear tyre at the start of the feature race, we're pleased to have even been out there. It was a case of simply putting your head down and getting on with the job. I'm proud of the team's efforts because we saved what could have been a disastrous meeting."

The damage was limited somewhat by championship rival Germany's dismal weekend, as rookie Christian Vietoris was implicated in the startline shunt in the sprint and could only manage ninth place in the feature.

"The dream is still alive," Reid asserted. "Germany would have to crash out in Shanghai and Brands Hatch for us to stand a chance, but you just have to look at what happened to France this weekend to appreciate it could still happen. I'm sure Germany will be working hard, but we're going to work even harder to peg them back."

A1 Team.New Zealand spokesman Bob McMurray echoed Reid's sentiments, stressing nothing was over until it was over.

"We said at the start of the season that there would be bad weekends ahead," he stated. "To get through this round having edged even closer to Germany ended up being a fantastic effort, and we're now looking forward to Shanghai and Brands Hatch with renewed confidence."



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