Nico H?lkenberg gave 2006-07 A1GP champions Germany the perfect send-off by triumphing in a tense feature race finale at Brands Hatch at the weekend, in the process denying Britain a dream victory double.

The 19-year-old gave Germany the ninth win of its superb season, after coming home second in the earlier sprint race. A gear-shift issue did not help H?lkenberg's cause in the latter, though Robbie Kerr's dominance was such the result was never really in any doubt. Key to Germany's success in the second race of the day was a lightning getaway, propelling the red, yellow and black machine into an immediate lead and - save for a fleeting moment midway through - H?lkenberg was never again headed, taking the chequered flag a scant six tenths of a second to the good.

"That was one of the most difficult races of my career," the F3 Euroseries rookie admitted afterwards. "We drove side-by-side through the first two corners after the start. I was on the outside and just thought that I should go for gold. Approaching the third corner I was then on the inside and pulled away.

"Robbie was glued to my gearbox right until the end and tried everything to pass, but I'm delighted that we ended the season in such fine style. It was the hardest race of my life. It just didn't seem to end when I was in the cockpit - I radioed the pits on several occasions to ask how many laps were left!

"The pit-stop was great once again - congratulations to the team. I made a mistake before the sprint race - because of the circuit's bumpy nature I bandaged my hands like a boxer to reduce the effect of the shocks. However, the blood flow was restricted and I got cramp in my arms, which is why Robbie was able to build up such an advantage."

Team principal Willi Weber was equally enthusiastic about the result, that saw Germany notch up as many victories over the course of the campaign as pursuers Great Britain, New Zealand and Malaysia put together.

"It was a fantastic final!" Weber stated. "I'm absolutely delighted to round off the season with a win, which we owe to both Nico and David Sears' team. I explained to Nico before the sprint race that he should retain his second position at the start and throughout the race. You should never take too many risks in the first race, and he did exactly as that.

"He also followed my game plan in the feature race, attacked and won. Nonetheless, it was nail-biting until the very end, since his closest rival Robbie Kerr also drove a fabulous race and waited for Nico to make a mistake. However, Nico doesn't make mistakes, even under enormous pressure. This excellent ninth win for the team proved that Nico and the team were more than worthy winners of the championship."

 

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